Since its inception, Drakontas attributes collaboration as the key to their success. The software tools Drakontas have designed and the research programs they manage are designed to be responsive to customer needs and changing requirements. Seeing the applications of their technology in the public safety market, Drakontas hopes to help first responders communicate more effectively.
Where did the company name originate from?
Our company Drakontas was formed in 2004 as a technology spin-out from Drexel University. Our name is a reference to our Drexel heritage – Drakontas is the Greek word for Dragon, and the Drexel mascot is a Dragon.
What was the inspiration for starting the company?
The early work done by the Drakontas founders was in support of our soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. We also saw applications for our technology in the public safety space here at home and formed Drakontas to equip these first responders with the best communications and collaboration technology. Our team’s mission evolved from those initial experiences, and our goal is to improve the operational effectiveness of public safety professionals by delivering software to help manage resources, business processes and emergency response capabilities.
Why do you believe your products are essential to the police community?
First, public safety professionals are constantly asked to do more with less, making an already difficult job nearly impossible. To be safe and effective they need to work as a team with ready access to one another and mission-critical information. Our collaborative software provides affordable communications tools that empower them to do their jobs more quickly, safely and effectively. Second, inexpensive smartphones and data plans are putting communication and collaboration capabilities, which were until recently accessible to only specialty teams and military units, into the hands of anyone. The after-action reports from recent terrorist attacks and similar events show that the “bad guys” are making use of these technologies themselves. Police need access to public safety grade versions of these technologies to stay ahead of their “competition.”
What has been the biggest challenge your company has faced?
Educating our customers is our biggest challenge. When we give a DragonForce demo the typical reaction is: “Wow – that’s amazing! It looks like something out of a movie! I didn’t think these kinds of tools were actually available.” We appreciate the positive reaction, but it underscores the challenge of educating the public safety community. Professionals are not typically out shopping for technology like ours because many don’t know that it even exists.
What makes your company unique?
At Drakontas, we have a very unique approach to making sure we understand our customers’ operational use cases and requirements. Every Drakontas employee who works on DragonForce is required to participate in multiple embedded exercises with our customers – no exceptions. When a software engineer spends hours out in the freezing cold, pouring rain or sweltering heat side-by-side with a SWAT team member, he gains unique insight as to how an app should look, function and feel in the hands of a public safety professional and provide “real world” utility. “Living with the customer” and learning from them up close and personal gives us domain knowledge that yields a better product. We don’t know of any company more committed to this process than Drakontas.
What do your customers like best about you and your products?
They are impressed by how intuitive the user interface is and how easy the app is to use. After just a few minutes of orientation they are training their teammates. What they like about us is our willingness to go out in the field with them to get dirty and listen to their feedback to make our products even better.
What is the most rewarding part of serving the police community?
Being part of the team. It’s not easy to earn the trust of cops. So, when they tell us about callouts where they used DragonForce to help resolve a challenging situation, it motivates our entire team – that’s why we started Drakontas.
Is there any fun fact or trivia that you’d like to share with our users about you or your company?
Every employee hired by our company goes to the range and learns how to shoot. Firearms are an integral part of our customers’ profession and it’s important that our engineers learn for themselves how difficult it is to shoot well, even in ideal conditions, free from stress and distractions. We think we are the only software company in the world that requires all of its software developers to log time at the firing range.