A 30-Second Earthquake Warning Gives a Menlo Park Fire Station a Chance to Protect Itself
SkyAlert’s technology has been evolving for years in Mexico. Over time, the company extended what was initially a pager-based emergency alert system to a comprehensive earthquake alert system that includes a proprietary network of seismic sensors. Recently, Cantu’s efforts got the attention of researchers and investors in the U.S.—and an opportunity to give SkyAlert’s IoT technology far broader reach.
It has been integrated with the U.S. Geographical Service’s (USGS’s) ShakeAlert, anearthquake warning system on the West Coast of the United States that started making its alerts available for public distribution in some areas late last year. His father was in the business of running pager networks (specifically, the Mexican arm of Skytel), so it was no surprise that Cantu majored in telecommunications engineering in college.
He ended up adding in a minor in geological science. He started working in Skytel’s R&D group in 2009, developing an emergency mass communications system that would allow the company to send emergency alerts simultaneously to millions of Skytel users. Cantu says he immediately started trying to figure out how to bring earthquake early warnings into that system.
He spun off SkyAlert in 2011 to focus on that part of the problem.