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"Twitter was made for friends. Nixle was made for government,” says Nixle CEO
Nixle, LLC, whose civilian messaging and notification services are used by 4,600 government agencies, mostly in law enforcement, has embarked on a drive to link more federal agencies into its network, according to the company’s recently appointed CEO, Eric Liu, who joined the company in 2008 and previously served as Chief Product Officer.
“The federal government has its own information and things to say,” says Liu. “Our goal will be to get every local, state and federal agency to link into the Nixle network and provide the public with every type of information, from emergency notification to day-to-day information on traffic, missing persons and local events. The more agencies and citizens you sign up, the better it will be for public safety.”
Nixle communicates with the public by text messaging, email and voice messaging, providing two types of communications to the public: emergency communications and day-to-day communications, such as traffic reports, missing person reports, safety tips and news about various agencies.
According to Eric Liu, “The applications of civilian communications go well beyond emergency response. Nixle provides the tools necessary to collaborate effectively with civilians for everything from community outreach to public relations to emergency mitigation.”
Liu asserts that the company realized early on that there was no good way for government agencies to reach the public, yet this was a void that could be filled by a Twitter-like service. “Twitter proved the concept that instantaneous communications with a large number of people is very powerful,” he added.
But Twitter did not have all the components that are needed in dealing with the government, particularly security, as evidenced by the fact that a number of high-profile accounts on Twitter have been hacked. According to Liu, Nixle filled this need with two-factor identification, which he says would have prevented the account compromises that happened at Twitter.
“Twitter was made for friends. Nixle was made for government,” says Liu. In addition to the security feature, Nixle also provides tools to communicate beyond the 140 characters that Twitter offers. These include pictures, maps and more-detailed information on emergencies, traffic, weather and other matters.
Nixle is the only messaging service certified by the International Justice and Safety Networks (Nlets), which is owned by the 50 states and links together and supports every federal, state and local law enforcement, justice and public safety agency for the purpose of sharing and exchanging critical information.
Commenting on his new role as CEO, Liu said, “My focus in this new role will be to stay closely in tune with our core constituency and to develop feature enhancements that support their goal of better outreach and communications with their communities and citizens. Nixle’s commitment to our longstanding relationships with law enforcement agencies has never been stronger and is underscored by the many new initiatives that we have in the pipeline and are developing.”
As Chief Product Officer at Nixle, Liu was responsible for the product management, engineering and creative teams. Under his direction, the company developed the hugely successful Nixle Wire application adopted by more than 4,600 public safety agencies throughout the U.S. Liu also oversaw the development of other successful products, such as Nixle Interconnect, an interoperable mobile communications platform, and Nixle Dial, an emergency-grade mass dialing system.
Prior to joining the Nixle team, Liu had more than 10 years experience leading technology companies in new media and mobile communications. He was part of the core team at LinkExchange, where he helped develop software solutions used by more than 300,000 small businesses.