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Alabama’s Tango Tango bridges gap in first responders’ communication

“The technology available to consumers that allows us to communicate with ease everyday is vastly ahead of the resources available to first responders, the people literally tasked with saving our lives.” – Ellie Johnson, Tango Tango COO 

HUNTSVILLE — Tango Tango is working to bridge the gap in communications faced by many first responders across the nation.

Founded in 2016, the Huntsville-based company works with first responders, including police officers, firefighters, and paramedics, to provide reliable communication solutions “when every second matters.”

COO Ellie Johnson said while first responders are often equipped with radios, there are limitations.  

“In addition to being very expensive, radios are limited by their distance range and in-building coverage, like at schools where the walls are typically very thick,” she said. 

“We help first responders expand their radio communications. So, essentially, we’re able to connect their radio traffic to their cell phones.” 

Ellie Johnson, Tango Tango COO (Contributed)

Johnson said Tango Tango provides software and hardware to bridge that crucial communications gap where radios don’t always work as intended.  

“We provide both software and hardware. It’s a combination,” she said. “We have an app that you download on your phone that can plug into a radio channel to be able to listen to and communicate with through your phone using our radio integration piece.” 

Johnson said a recent Innovate Alabama grant has allowed the company to develop a hardware component that streamlines use for less cost.  

“The Innovate grant allowed us to build the radio integration piece,” she said. “One piece of hardware that greatly reduces the costs for both us and our customers. Budgets are a big concern for first responders right now post-COVID. So being able to help more people and cost them less money is important.” 

Innovate Alabama recently announced the second round of recipients of its supplemental grant that awarded more than $3 million to 19 small businesses, including Tango Tango.  

“Access to capital, one of Innovate Alabama’s 2023 pillars, is essential to fueling entrepreneurial development,” said Cynthia Crutchfield, CEO of Innovate Alabama in a press release announcing the grants. “We look forward to seeing the impact this investment will have on these small businesses and the broader innovation ecosystem.”   

Johnson said she is looking forward to Tang Tango’s continued growth – not only in Alabama but nationwide.  

“We are a startup company focused on public service,” she said. “We started in Alabama and really focused on this state and then slowly started moving nationally.

“Right now, we are in 47 states and have over 600 customers and roughly 13,000 users.”  

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