Few subjects are as fiercely debated as the use, manufacturing, and, regulation of firearms. Stories of tragic misfortune and miraculous self-defense abound across the globe. Still more stories detail a rising mistrust of firearms, with even more mistrust leveled at institutions such as military and law enforcement agencies. With recent news stories covering the Charlie Hebdo shooting in France and the Ferguson events in the United States, the situation seems to be coming to a head. This is the scene where Yardarm Technologies has decided to ply their innovation.
The small technology startup, founded in Capitola, California, has created the world’s first piece of wireless firearm technology; the Yardarm Sensor. The sensor itself is aimed at providing data to field commanders and headquarters to allow for more informed decisions and assist forensics personnel in the aftermath of extreme events. An ambitious project, considering the current state of controversy. Still, Yardarm Technologies has not balked in the face of such adversity. Quite the opposite in fact.
On October 24, 2014, Yardarm Technologies announced that they would be testing their firearms telemetry platform in the field. This platform, which provides dispatch centers and home office personnel with “real-time event and location data on all firearms in the field”, is the first to be tested in the United States. The Yardarm Sensor also goes a step further, being sensitive and complex enough to monitor not only where the firearm is located but, even whether or not the weapon is holstered.
The company has certainly come into the spotlight since the development of the platform. Not long after the field trials began, news of the trials was broadcast on the CBS News network. In addition, Yardarm Technologies intends to ship to their first customers in the second half of 2015.
As always I have questions.
Yardarm Technologies insists that their mission is to save lives. To that I have no doubt. What I do doubt is the security of their wireless service. If law enforcement or military personnel positions are on a wireless software solution, that solution can be compromised. As it happens, the solution exists. Yardarm Technologies has developed a software suite called EDGE, which communicates with both the Yardarm Sensor and headquarters.
Will EDGE be the downfall of the Yardarm Sensor?
I think that is a great question to ask. Consider the rise in cyberterror and cybercrime attacks across the globe. Groups such as ISIS, the 50 cent army (Chinese hacker outfit), and even Anonymous are using the worlds digital infrastructure to orchestrate attacks on individuals. Not even the militaries of the world are safe, as the United States Department of Defense can attest.
So where would that leave law enforcement and military personnel on the field? Coordinating attack and defense on a compromised battlefield would be as fruitless as teamwork in a first person shooter. I am loathe to imagine anyone in such a dire situation. I could not imagine trying to keep it together while knowing that my enemy knows my exact location.
I am interested to see where Yardarm Technologies takes this technological niche. As with anything there are risks. But saving lives is worth the risk. I, for one, truly hope the company vision can rise to the challenge.