16th December 2012, a date etched in the memory of every Indian. A day when India’s daughter (Nirbhaya) was sexually assaulted. While it shook the entire nation, the safety of women in our country was seriously questioned.
Though women are at the helm of such incidents, the safety of men in our country is compromised too. If you’re someone who has feared for your personal safety, you are not alone. Walking to your car in a dark parking lot, taking a cab at night or exercising in the evening are all instances when a myriad of thoughts can plague your mind. No matter where you are, the world can be a very scary place.
Opinions with regard to personal safety have always remained divided. While some people mindlessly blame the victim, others simply ask women to get trained in self-defence and martial arts. If there is anything right now that can make public spaces safer for individuals, it is none other than a personal safety app or women safety app. Considering the times we live in, they can be incredibly helpful.
Necessity of an SOS Alert App
In today’s society, there are many untoward situations women, employees, children, solo travellers and senior citizens are forced to endure. When a disaster or trouble strikes, dialling to the police or other concerned authorities can be a painful process. The need of the hour is something quick and instant such as a ‘panic button’ or ‘safety app’.
In a world of technological innovations where we have virtual personal assistants and virtual bodyguards, there are a large number of SOS apps too. These safety apps have been developed with the sole purpose to protect oneself in a situation that is perceived to involve a threat to well-being. It’s literally personal safety at your fingertips. Studies reveal that people with smartphones feel more secure as they come with enhanced features and apps that can save the day for them in a bleak situation.
Whether it’s accessing emergency services, tracking the location of an individual, seeking help or sending a distress signal, personal security apps are replete with features such as video, alarms, GPS, alerts, SMS, etc. to help users in distress alert their near and dear ones immediately.
There are safety apps for android as well as iOS. While most of them follow a freemium business model for basic features of the app, the advanced ones require a user to sign-up for a premium subscription that come at an affordable price.
Just a search for ‘Nirbhaya’ on the Play Store will list a dozen of personal safety apps. In an increasingly saturated market like this, downloading the right app is imperative. An app that goes an extra mile in keeping you safe.
Criteria to Consider when Picking a Personal Safety App
There are umpteen number of personal safety products in the market. If you’re overwhelmed by the different features they house and are unsure about which will fit the bill when calamity strikes, we have you covered. Since they’re specifically designed to help users in distress situations, they must stand out in performance.
While the safety app on your smartphone should be robust, it can mean all the difference between life and death in the most extreme and emergent situations.
Here’s a checklist you must consider when choosing a Personal safety app for yourself or others:
- Accuracy of the location service or GPS: The first prerequisite of a safety app is the accuracy of the location service. When the alert has been activated, does the app use your phone’s GPS to send your location so that you can be found quickly? The more accurate the location, the faster emergency personnel can find you. Anyone looking for you should be able to pinpoint your exact location. Besides GPS, certain apps have a feature where the address can be entered manually so that the user can record their exact location. Checking this is important otherwise emergency response teams may not be able to find you when it counts the most.
- Pre-determined contacts set by the user: The app should allow users to set one or more contacts from the phone contact list and send alerts to them in the event of an emergency. Make sure to set emergency contacts who are close to you such as spouse, friends, siblings or someone from your extended family.
- SOS alert button: An SOS app as the name suggests should be able to alert the nearest police department at the touch of a button during a time when making calls is not feasible. Check if the app successfully delivers notifications to the respective authorities when the ‘HELP’ button the on the app is activated. While help should be dispatched immediately, it must also notify the user’s safety network by SMS, automated calls or email.
- Voice commands: Check if the app allows you to send out voice alerts when you’re unable to reach your phone. Voice integration is a must in any safety app. Saying ‘Hey Siri/Ok Google’ should be able to trigger help when the phone is locked.
- Understand where the alerts go: When the alerts are activated on a safety app, they are sent to a third party who are expected to respond to such a situation. When you get an app, it is important to know the police and other helplines linked to the application. In times of adversaries, the app should have a provision for getting instant help from the police, hospitals, fire-fighters, bomb squad, etc.
- Constant tracking: Most personal safety apps these days have a feature that allows the user’s location information to be tracked in real-time by one or more parties whom the user chooses in the safety network. It allows the remote contact to trace the user’s location constantly during travel, commute and when they feel unsafe. It is usually for a specified distance as set by the user. The emergency contact can check if the user is going on the expected route and take action in case of any deviation. It is definitely a useful feature of a safety app must-have.
- Heatmaps: Check if the safety app you are choosing has heatmaps. A heatmap is a graphical representation of data that deems an area as safe or unsafe. Most apps usually rely on crowdsourced data to determine how ‘safe’ the area is. Internet communities often update their views based on past incidents or personal experiences.
- Stability and speed of functioning: Lastly, a good SOS alert app must be really quick. While it should be low on memory so that it does not shut down abruptly, the backend functionality and UI/UX design should not slow down the app either. When a person is faced with an emergency situation, the steadfastness of the app matters the most. It should be easy to use yet powerful.
Therefore, when you are choosing a safety app, make sure it ticks all the right boxes in terms of personal safety. While technology can certainly enhance safety, situational awareness is also critical. Before downloading an app, understanding its capabilities is crucial.
Omnipolis is one such keep safe app that will meet your needs in an emergency situation. It is the most intelligent safety and emergency platform that gives you peace of mind at the touch of a button.
To learn more, visit https://omnipolis.co/app/.