BY: EMMA BAILEY
If you own a mobile device, you’re never truly alone. The combination of video, GPS, and wireless communication capabilities make the average smartphone a personal security device that’s accessible to practically everyone. For women especially, walking home alone at night can be dangerous, but it’s an unavoidable part of life. The solution (obviously) is not to wait around until you can be escorted, but if you do worry about your safety at times, there’s some apps for you. It’s wise to consider the benefits of adding apps as part of a comprehensive, individual self-protection program; these safety apps can literally be a lifesaver.
Look at the Companion app as a virtual security team. This free app creates a route map between the starting point and the destination. The route is transmitted to the user’s designated companion, showing the user’s actual location along the route. If something goes wrong such as the phone is displaced, the app triggers a confirmation sequence, requiring user response within a 15-second window. Without a response, the app alerts the designated companion of the situation, and they can launch into their superhero mode for a rescue operation, or make a call to the proper authorities.
Bugle is an iPhone app for those who live “active lives” and prefer to un-tether from their iPhones during outdoor activities such as hiking, running or jogging. Users define the time range that they are separated from their phone. Failure to check in at the appointed time will trigger an alert, and the Bugle app will send the information to the designated emergency contact. Individuals who frequently go out on blind dates, extended holidays in the woods or meetings with never-before-seen Craigslist contacts can use this app to keep all extracurricular activities within the bounds of good sense and safety.
Vivint Sky is an app that gives users full control of what’s happening at home from any location with wireless service. Vivint is a home automation system linked to an in-home hub. The phone-based app is the nerve centre that secures, controls and manages various equipment and home features to ensure that they are on the best setting for security purposes. With the Vivint SmartHome App a pet sitter can access the home’s interior and the homeowner can monitor the action remotely. In worst case scenarios, the app will alert you in case of a break in, or if someone at home (like a child) has left the premises unsupervised. Garage doors, windows and other portals can also be locked and unlocked from a remote location.
A multitasking security-focused app is a girl’s best friend; a nanny dog that fits comfortably inside one’s coat pocket. Similar to Companion, bSafe users designate guardians who track their trip progress via GPS. If something is out of sync, pressing a button sends an alert to the designated guardian. Doing so will also trigger the record button to create a video recording of the situation. The time-stamped video and voice recording with location data is stored in bSafe servers to preserve the evidence. As a bonus, the app includes a fake-call feature that can be used as an exit strategy when one needs to get away from a date or a boring meeting.
The cab4me app identifies user location through GPS or triangulation. The map shows the nearest taxi stands in the vicinity, after which the user has the option to switch to call-cab mode for a list of cab companies. The app provides information such as types of cars and payment modes accepted. The app reverts to web search in areas with limited cab company listings.
Once again, the handy-dandy smartphone device delivers when it comes to solutions for everyday problems. A multitude of mobile apps serve as easy, always-there tools that deliver alerts, GPS updates and lifeline communication for women facing potentially treacherous situations – such as daily life in every city across the globe.