Eamnual Azih2

Emmanuel Azih, CEO of Azert

While a traditional GPS system can get your car to its destination, it doesn’t have navigation abilities once you’re on site. Emmanuel Azih, CEO of Azert hopes the Smart(er) Socket iBeacon can change that.

The platform is the first piece of technology released by the D.C.-based startup company. While it looks and functions like an ordinary wall socket, Smart(er) Socket’s micro-location technology will allow people to function in hyper-local spaces.

Azih was awarded $122,500, in October of 2014, to accelerate the project by the Digital DC Tech Fund, presented by Mayor Vincent Gray. This month, students at Howard University, the University of Maryland and the University of Virginia will build mobile applications utilizing the platform. “One of those applications could be finding easier access to classrooms ; or instead of cooling and heating just based on timing—from 9 to 5, for example—they can actually cool and heat based on occupancy of a room,” Azih told the AFRO on Aug. 13.

After being approached by the Federal Communications Commission, Azih also said he views the platform as a premier commodity for public safety. “We’ve all watched CSI and think there’s this system that will track us, but the reality is if you’re in a building and you dial 911, it’s relying on GPS technology and sometimes Wi-Fi so it’s really hard to get an accurate location of where you are,” he said. “In terms of an emergency situation when time really is of the essence, you have a lot of first responders who either go into the wrong building or are delayed in response time, resulting in more injuries and sometimes even death.”

Professors at each educational institution will incorporate mobile application development into their curriculum based on Azih’s suggestions. Students will also have free reign to produce applications based on their own needs and preferences.

“We’re pretty excited about this because micro location in this manner hasn’t been done before,” he said.

“When I was a kid, my brother and I built weird location tracking devices to figure out when our parents were coming in our rooms and ever since then I’ve always been a thinker. I became an engineer that,” he says.

As an entrepreneur in D.C.’s growing tech economy, Azih plans to eventually open the platform to other software developers so that mobile devices can be more aware of surroundings in hotels, airports, hospitals, restaurants and virtually any indoor space that has use for such technology.

To learn more about Smarter Socket, visit smartersocket.com.