Boosting Intelligence with Data

Data is what makes ACOEM’s Acoustic Threat Detection (ATD) technology tick.

The more data its AI collects, the more intelligent and accurate it gets. Back in August, our ATD team took a trip to Louisiana to put our technology to use for this very reason. We set-up shop in a small town in eastern Louisiana and conducted ATD tests for two days. Using four different sensors and a variety of guns, we captured tracking data and a few unique scenarios. We’ve recapped our experience in this video and our recent white paper. Check them out to learn more about our experience, and feel free to connect with us if you have questions.

Run, Hide, Fight

If you were faced with an active shooter today, what would you do?

This type of question might be unsettling to consider, but having an answer to it can mean the difference between life or death in the event of an emergency. Active shooter plans are an integral part of any security program. Not only do you need to have a plan in place, but you need to continuously optimize the plan you have. However, we know just getting started on a plan can be tough particularly when there are many moving parts. Let’s break down some tips and considerations shared by FEMA to take into account when planning and responding.


During an active shooter event, knowing where to turn and who to turn to is paramount. Who should the people you are protecting count on to take charge? Where can they exit to safety? Start by making note of key personnel, their contact information, and any special support they can provide during an emergency. Create a map of your facility featuring all the exits, and make it available to all stakeholders. Additional tips to consider when planning:

  • The public establishments you are familiar with might already have active shooter plans in place. Familiarize yourself with these plans and best practices. 
  • Research training options. FEMA offers a course titled “You Are the Help Until Help Arrives,” and these words couldn’t ring truer.


Decisions have to be made quickly in the midst of an active shooter event, so your preparation will go a long way. You’ll want to call 911 as soon as it is safe to do so. Remember your plan and consider the immediate options you have as the situation unfolds. Experts recommend following the “run, hide, fight” chain of response.

  • Run: First and foremost, run to flee the location of the threat. Prioritize getting to safety.
  • Hide: If running is not an option for any reason, locate a secure hiding spot. 
  • Fight: If there are no viable hiding options, you’ll need to be ready to take the shooter down by any means possible whether that means tackling, throwing objects, or using makeshift weapons. Once law enforcement arrives, be sure to follow their instructions.

Lastly, do your best to remain calm and level-headed no matter how the situation unfolds. It might be easier said than done, but maintaining your composure will enable you to make wise decisions quickly and perhaps provide help to those around you. Panic will only hinder your ability to think clearly. 

For more information on developing your own active shooter plan, download our poster or connect with us to learn more.

Unpacking ATD's Rich History

It’s no secret that Acoustic Threat Detection (ATD) was born from a long history of technology innovation.

We began using our technology to protect French armed troops on the frontlines in the 90’s, and it has come a long way over the years. It began with an algorithm that led to the first iteration of our ATD technology back in 1995. Here’s a summary of the timeline that led to ATD being used for civilian and security applications today:

  • 1995: Our gunshot detection technology, initially known as PILAR, was created for UN vehicles passing through the infamous Sniper Alley in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war. The system was composed of four microphones and had 360 degree surveillance. PILAR proved to be an asset to the UN, which led to France using it to protect its commands stationed in Bosnia during the war.
  • 1999: The United States army took interest in acoustic threat detection technology. PILAR as a COTS product was chosen by the U.S. after being evaluated against global competitors. It was first deployed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
  • 2006: The fourth generation of PILAR was developed for a more compact piece of equipment. Similar to ATD’s ability to track gunshots today, this enhancement included the ability to update shooter coordinates in relation to the military vehicle PILAR was attached to. 
  • 2013: We developed an even more compact version of PILAR that was designed to fit onto weapons. This version known as PEARL was just as successful as the technology iterations before it. 
  • 2015: PILAR V was developed. The algorithms behind the technology were enhanced for better recognition of firearms and the distance traveled by projectiles. Drones and helicopter arrivals could now be detected, too. 

Flash forward to today, and the innovation hasn’t stopped. PILAR technology has evolved into ATD, a revolutionary security tool designed to support the fight against gun violence in civilian communities. ATD technology and our overall detection capabilities will continue to evolve over the coming months and years in our quest to create safer communities and smart cities. In the meantime, we are excited to bring acoustic threat detection from the frontlines to the community you call home.

Solving for Safety Solutions

Gun violence trends have shown a stark increase in recent years. Between mass shootings and small-scale gun violence, everyday places have become subject to unexpected attacks. We’ve seen this in schools such as Sandy Hook, universities like Virginia Tech, entertainment venues like the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a Walmart in El Paso, workplaces like the Virginia Beach municipal building, and more. What does this all add up to? Let’s take a look at some stats shared by Giffords and the Gun Violence Archive:

  • 38,000 Americans die from gun violence annually. This works out to 100 per day.
  • More than 1 million Americans have been victims of gun violence in the past 10 years. 
  • In 2020 alone, there have already been over 400 mass shootings and over 14,000 gun violence deaths in total (including homicide, accidents, and self-defense).

With these figures in mind, many government agencies and independent organizations are exploring ways to combat this progressively increasing trend. Police departments are especially challenged with identifying solutions, particularly since there has been a push for hands-off policing in recent times. Most of us are familiar with community programs focused on addressing gun violence concerns, but many are now looking for ways to capitalize on technology in an effort to deter gun violence. Gunshot detection technology is one such solution that has been put into practice across numerous cities today. Smart guns designed to prevent illegal firearm usage through a security lock only the authorized firearm owner can unlock are another potential solution. This works in the same way a smartphone user would unlock a cellphone using a fingerprint or passcode. However, Smart Guns are only available abroad today and require continued research and buy-in before they can move beyond the conceptual phase in the United States. On the other hand, some public establishments follow a relatively traditional approach to gun violence prevention by implementing entryway barriers. Similar to any TSA checkpoint, these barriers are manned by security guards who scan visitors with a magnetometer or other X-ray technology to detect hidden weapons. This solution is frequently found in corporate offices and government buildings, but it does require security staff to be on hand during all hours of operation. 

One thing is for certain, and it’s that technology in the security realm is constantly evolving. Security professionals are challenged with staying up-to-date and continuously optimizing their security protocols. Taking the time to ensure you’re utilizing the best tools and resources available is essential, and your community will be safer for it.