A musician himself, as well as a reader of Music Connection, Jason Kates has been creating technology companies since 1995. In 2017, he united one of them with a diplomatic security business and became Clearpath Alerts. Their mission is to provide safety in any type of situation, including concerts.
The guys we merged with, they’re former Diplomatic Secret Service agents. These guys are at the highest level of law enforcement. They were in charge of all the agents for all the embassies around the world.
The embassy in Cuba versus the embassy in Afghanistan was run completely differently because when the agent in charge got there they just put their own style on it. That was very hard to document. We merged their data, what they call the standard, into our technology platform so now we’ve got a standard, for instance, for live concerts.
We’ve been in schools since the beginning of the company. Schools are also very inconsistent and not standardized. They’re so politicized with all the problems at schools right now. We’re in South Florida, so our company’s actually consulting with the Parkland [shooting] on what they could’ve done better.
What we’re trying to do is standardize safety communication at live events. We’re helping some of the biggest concert promoters in the world create what’s known as an interdependent group at each venue.
Let’s say you’re going to a festival and you used a ticketing app. Inside that app might be our platform. It’s not primary—it’s part of something bigger than our business model. One of the things festival promoters need to do is get people somewhere safe, whether it’s a parking garage or their vehicles, and have them not come back until we give the all clear. That’s just a tiny perspective of what our platform does.
What happened in Las Vegas was a catalyst. That definitely accelerated our visibility. What could have been done to help mitigate that? We couldn’t have stopped the guy, but we could have helped fans get communication about where to go. If you have our app, you instantly get notified. It tells you exactly where you should go. In the case of Vegas, the security guards left their posts and the gates were locked and everybody was trapped. Ultimately, there was only one entry and egress due to the fact that security left. But if the fans were on our platform we could’ve at least communicated what was going on, where to go and not just have complete bedlam.
Helping During Emergencies and Non-Emergencies
There was a show a couple months ago here in Florida where there was lightning. If there’s lightning, you have to clear the place. It hit the soundboard, which meant there was no sound and nobody could make an announcement. They tried using security guards to tell people what to do and that turned out to be confrontational.
By the way, it doesn’t always have to be a crisis. We don’t want to be some negative app that’s just there for safety. We want to be part of people’s experience.
There are only a couple things you can do [during an emergency]—you can either remain in place or evacuate. Those are called protocols. That’s the critical information.
Let’s say it’s an active shooter. You can tell people how to hide, where to hide, what to do, be quiet. If there are curtains, pull them. If it’s an evacuation, you can tell people where to go. Here are the rally points. Go to this field over here. Go back to your car. Go to this parking garage on the second level. Each venue is different.
Helping the Right People Make Decisions
We are a decision-support tool for people who are putting on events. And more often than not there’s something that happens at a show. With that many people you’re going to have something weird happen, so if you’ve got a way for the administrators or promoters to communicate with police and fire, rescue, EOD [Explosive Ordinance Disposal], security and ultimately the fans, you’ve got a better shot at mitigating stuff.
We’ve created a way for people to crowdsource intelligence. People can take a video or photo of something. That video and photo get routed to the administrators so they can all take a look, make an assessment and see specifically where it is on a map.
Let’s say there’s a fistfight. Somebody doesn’t want to get into the middle of it but they shoot a video. Police now know exactly where the fight’s going on and exactly who’s in the fight. That’s what crowdsourcing is about.
Busting Bad Guys
We do a really cool show here called the Riptide Music Festival. There was a guy walking around in a trench coat in November on the beach. He’s bleeding and carrying two bags. Somebody took a picture of him. It got routed to the promoter and police. Within thirty-five seconds, they grabbed the guy and took him off the property. He was bleeding because he’d jumped the fence and stolen 10 cell phones.
Bandwidth doesn’t affect us because we use notifications, not SMS. It’s a technicality but it’s important because when there are 50,000 people standing around it’s tough to get a signal, so we don’t use that layer.
Duty of Care
Whether it’s somebody putting on a concert or a school or church or an office or residential building, there’s what’s known as duty of care. That’s a big issue these days. If you are open for the public to come to your environment, you have a responsibility [to keep people safe]. We’re trying to bring tools to those folks who have a duty of care so they can mitigate any issues.
When a venue becomes a venue, more often than not they have to supply a safety plan to local law enforcement. Inside of our platform we’ve got a standard they can use. We help them create a standard so it’s easier for police and the promoter. And the standard is who’s in charge, where the rally points are, and it all lives in our database so when they go back to that venue they can just change a few names if they need to or change a rally point because that field’s no longer available or the parking garage is gone. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a lot to them because they have to essentially redo those every time they do a show, even at the same venue.
Helping In a Growing Area
I’m a musician first. I play these festivals and really enjoy playing them, but there’s always some underlying feeling you have while you’re there like, man, is this thing really safe? We’re trying to add something so people can know they can have a good time.
Years with Company: 1
Address: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Clients: One of the largest concert promoters and venue owners in the world as well as one of the largest radio station companies in the world