Personal safety app

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A personal safety app or SOS app is a mobile application which can be used to aid personal safety. Such apps received increased prominence in the media after the 2012 Delhi gang rape case[1] and consequent protests against "brutal rapes, molestation and mistreatment of women".[2] Technology, including social and mobile tools, are playing an important role in improving overall personal safety, with technologies such as GPS, SMS, video, alerts, alarms, and more, allowing a user in distress to alert bystanders and close friends.

Features[edit]

While most personal safety apps are offered as freeware, some are either distributed as a freemium app with paid features which can be unlocked through in-app purchases, supported through advertising, or marketed as paid applications. These include various features, including sending text messages, e-mails, IMs, or even Tweets to close friends (containing approximate location,[1]) or emitting a loud intermittent "shrill whistle" in the manner of a rape alarm.[1] Additional features include geofencing and preventive alerts.[citation needed] Some apps allow to customize the alert message sent and the ringtone that signals the reception of a new alert.

They normally include different triggering mechanisms to cope with different emergency situations. Common triggering mechanisms include pressing and holding the phone's switch button for a few seconds, shaking the phone vigorously, tapping on an alert button, and even loud screaming sound which the app can detect.[3] When the alert signal is triggered, these apps automatically go to work, sending text messages and emails with exact location of the user to emergency contacts listed on the app.

In April 2016, the Indian government mandated that all cellphones sold in the country must contain a panic button function by 2017, activated through either a dedicated button or pressing the power key three times.[4]

Feature comparison between some personal safety apps
Features
PikMe SOS[edit]
SOSApp CrowdProtect - Deine Notruf Community SmartWatcher Musketeer Guardian Safety App Citizen COP bSafe - Personal Safety Alarm React Mobile - Personal Safety App EmergenSee Personal Safety App PanicGuard
Free for all Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
SOS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Video or Call recording, activation with SOS Yes Yes Yes Yes
SafeZone Yes Yes
Police Phone Directory Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Emergency Help
(Police, Ambulance, ATM)
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Police Notifications Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stolen Vehicle Check Yes
Stolen Phone Track
Wearables supported Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hands-free alarm Yes Yes Yes
Location-based crime reporting Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Share your Location Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Close Group Location Tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Integrated Social Media Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Collects Evidence Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Reception[edit]

Clinical research associate[1] at BGS Global Hospital,[citation needed] Denet Pradeep, was of the opinion in early 2013 that such apps are ineffective without modification.[1]

One Indian media professional noted the vague location information and the sometimes convoluted functionality, saying "You'd rather run away than [scroll to and] activate [the app]."[1] She suggested that developers incorporate functionality which doesn't rely on the internet, because of the poor 3G connectivity in India in 2012.[1]

List of personal safety apps[edit]

Title Platform
Windows Phone Android BlackBerry iOS Apple Watch Android Wear
#1 PikMe SOS[5] Yes Yes
#2 SOSApp Yes
#3 bSafe[3][6][7][8][9][10] Yes Yes Yes
#4 CircleOf6[3][7] Yes Yes
#5 CrowdProtect[11] Yes Yes Yes
#6 EmergenSee[12] Yes Yes
#7 Guardly[3] Yes Yes Yes
#8 ICE Mumbai Police[6] Yes
#9 Musketeer - Help anywhere, anytime[13] Yes Yes
#10 PanicGuard - SafetyFast [14] Yes Yes Yes Yes
#11 Safone[15] Yes Yes
#12 SmartWatcher Yes Yes Yes Yes

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Distress apps: How safe?
  2. ^ 10 Best Mobile Apps For Women Safety In India | AppConsumer Archived 2013-01-23 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c d 10 Personal Safety Apps to Keep You Protected | SnappTips
  4. ^ "Panic button, GPS compulsory in all mobiles: But will it really help with safety?". The Indian Express. 2016-04-26. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  5. ^ "PikMe | Making Cities Smarter, Safer and Accessible". PikMe - Safety, Logistics, Marketplace. Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  6. ^ a b All apps to the rescue Archived 2013-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b 10 Best Women Safety Apps For Self Defense and Security Archived 2013-02-27 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Top 10 Best FREE Android, iPhone, Symbian Apps For Women & Kids Safety - Page 2
  9. ^ Is safety for women really just a click away?
  10. ^ 10 Best Mobile Apps For Women Safety In India - Page 5
  11. ^ | CrowdProtect on the App Store
  12. ^ "How To Get 'Shark Tank's EmergenSee App, a Super High-Tech Personal Safety Product". Bustle. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ PanicGuard panic alarm app sends out live video of crime | Metro UK
  15. ^ "Press Release - the launch of Safone - Safone". Safone. 2016-12-08. Retrieved 2017-02-23.