Gordon Jones was on vacation with his family in Charleston, S.C., when the idea came to him.
Tragedy had struck a short distance away. A local furniture warehouse had caught fire and the building's roof collapsed, taking the lives of nine local firefighters.
It was the worst loss of life for American firefighters since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
Jones, who has an office on Stevens Creek Road in Augusta and has worked to get innovative medical companies and projects off the ground in countries the world over, thought he could help.
"So one of my thoughts was ... how can I use some of the things I'm doing to avert some of that?" Jones said.
It's taken more than three years, but in March he plans to launch his solution: Guardian Watch.
It's an application that will allow users to stream live video to 911 providers, being built with an eye toward Apple's iPhone and Google's Android cell phone platforms.
Guardian Watch, which would be free to download, will work like a 911 call with a kick.
A user who witnesses an incident, say a robbery or a car crash, can immediately begin streaming video to the Guardian Watch Web site. Using the phone's built-in GPS, the caller's location is plotted on an electronic map and the video of the scene can be accessed by dispatchers with a click. A text service allows dispatchers to send instructions to the caller on the screen. There is no need for the caller to text back because dispatchers would be able to hear them almost instantly through the video stream.
"Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a thousand pictures," Jones said.
Jones said the app will provide investigators with evidence of the scene, while authorities en route will be able to monitor the situation with their own electronic handheld devices.
In early February, Jones will travel to London to present his idea to the United Kingdom's Department of Security and Counterterrorism. His was one of 30 companies selected to present security solutions for the 2012 London Olympics.
Like any entrepreneur, Jones' idea isn't completely altruistic. He plans to make a buck for his hard work, and he intends to do that through advertising and fees to 911 providers.
Meanwhile, Jones said he is hoping Guardian Watch can help local neighborhood associations combat crime near their homes. Last week, he delivered a PowerPoint presentation to the Summerville Neighborhood Association at the Partridge Inn.
Jones and his wife, Dr. Jennifer Jones, a speech-language pathologist, became members of the association after several car break-ins in the parking lot of his wife's practice on Central Avenue.
Jones said his backers are mainly family and friends right now but he has a goal to be a source for new jobs in Augusta. He also hopes to cut into the city's crime rate.
"When I created this business model my orientation was all about engaging the public and serving," he said.