Many advertising and creative agencies in Calgary take on pro bono work to help charities while promoting their own capabilities.
The good folks at Strut Creative had no idea the work they provided the Missing Children Society of Canada would result in a separate company now helping other organizations, companies, university campuses and cities across the country.
Amanda Pick, executive director of the Calgary-based Missing Children Society, asked Strut how it could better spread the word in the first hours after a child goes missing; time that’s crucial to their safe recovery.
Strut devised a rapid response mobile-first platform for alerting groups, rallying teams and informing communities, effectively creating the world’s first online search party.
What Pick refers to as her Most Valuable Network also allows users to ‘donate’ their social feeds so their connections are engaged in the search for a missing child. The viral power of social media enables the Missing Children Society of Canada to reach hundreds of thousands of Canadians within moments of an alert being issued.
It was so successful Strut founder and chief strategist Aaron Salus and managing director Chris McPhail sat down to plan how the cloud-hosted product could assist other organizations.
They created RallyEngine and named Steve Hardy as president of the company.
The team launched a pilot project with the Calgary Police Service that quickly caught the attention of police chiefs across the country. In partnership with the University of Calgary it developed and launched a UC Emergency app and the expanded contract — facilitated by Innovate Calgary — includes developing additional features for campus security across Canada.
It recently launched OC Emergency, a smartphone-centred alert and rallying system for Olds College for Olds College. Hardy is also busy contacting other universities and colleges to discuss the need for emergency alert systems.
To complement its core alerting, RallyEngine has added a working-alone module called SoloSafe. Large organizations are mandated to keep tabs on lone workers, especially at night and in remote areas. SoloSafe lets them do this easily via their smartphones.
There are many other uses for RallyEngine other than emergency alerts management of volunteers, activation of off-duty personnel and the organization of dispersed teams.
The town of High River participated in a pilot project that allowed officials to quickly organize and dispatch volunteers, according to their various skills, in an emergency. In Calgary, during the flood of 2013, surveys found only 19 per cent of corporations could reach their people in an efficient way.
Almost everyone in the working world has a smartphone, and not everyone sits behind a desk in front of a computer. Through RallyEngine safety officials, administrators, and communities can now share a robust and delegated system that can alert groups in crisis and keep employees, volunteers, and key links informed.
News and notes
Shortly after Victoria Achilleos and her husband were married, they left Greece for London, England, where they started a textile manufacturing company. In the 1970s, the couple moved to Calgary and Achilleos has brought European fashion to this city ever since through her retail store La Chic, now celebrating 40 years in business.
The first location was across from Penny Lane but when the building demolished she moved into the old Penny Lane. That also went the way of the wrecker’s ball to make for Eighth Avenue Place.
Undeterred, she and her daughter, Elena, relocated to the second floor of Bankers Hall.
Thanks to their good taste and ability to build up some incredible relationships with clients, many of them multi-generational, they’re still very successful. Happy anniversary.