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Grants helped Metis create emergency notification system

April 30, 2009

On Monday, April 16, 2007, David Ruppersberger, president and CEO of the Technology Collaborative, began his workday by reading through a stack of grant proposals. The previous Friday had been the deadline for submissions from companies seeking to be included in the collaborative's next round of funding.

A proposal from an Oakmont-based company called for the creation of an emergency notification system meant to cure the weaknesses of existing systems. The proposal described how such a system might save lives in different types of emergencies; in one of the possible scenarios, a gunman was loose on a university campus.

After reading the proposals, Mr. Ruppersberger went online to check the day's news. The lead story was about a gunman on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., engaged in what would become known as the Virginia Tech massacre.  "I got chills and thought, 'Oh my goodness,'" Mr. Ruppersberger said Six weeks later, the approximately 50 member companies of the North Shore nonprofit economic development group awarded  a grant for about $200,000.

Now, after two years of development and testing, the first Metis Secure system has been sold to Carnegie Mellon University. The system is being installed at Mellon Institute, a columned fortress of a building that also was used to field-test it...

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