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'Appy' to help: Surge of SOS generation

Tanima Banerjee  |  New Delhi 

Over the past one year, there has been a positive surge in awareness regarding personal safety. has invaded our lives in ways more than one and its impact is unprecedented. It is this fact that various software developers have tried to use to the advantage of the society, seeking to make it safer.

Here is a look at some of the latest safety applications that operate to make one feel more secure through

SOS-Stay Safe
This is an application targeting women's safety in a simple and convenient way. In most safety apps, one has to either press the power button in a certain way or open the app and tap on the button to call for help. But with SOS-Stay Safe!, all that one has to do is shake the device to make a call for help quickly and discreetly. Any can become one's personal safety device with the help of this app, which is its best feature.

In an emergency, the app sends an SMS and/or an email to chosen contacts with user's name and a one-minute voice recording, along with one's exact location with a simple phone-shake.

In addition, it will also send the battery status of the user's phone; the messages are sent at regular intervals to provide real time GPS tracking for one's location. It does not contain video-recording or alarm-raising features but considering its focus on discretion, it still works efficiently to meet its purpose.

This app goes all the way to deal with all kinds of emergency situations by calling for help in a smart way.

The app is a lesser-known but effective safety application available free on Android devices. It comes with two services - 'I am here' and 'I need help'; the former helping to track a person's location and the other sending panic alerts to selected family and friends with location tracker and raising emergency alarms in crisis situations. The app, unlike others, does not depend on GPS or location maps.

It is simple to use and easily accessible, triggering a set of quick actions with a single press of a button. Of the contacts saved, the first would also receive a call along with an SMS. It sends frequent location updates to the registered contacts to help them track the user's current location.

One can also set a closed user group (CUG), where the members get a series of tutorial messages telling them why they are getting panic messages and how they could react to save their friend in crisis situations. When the panic button is pressed, an SMS is sent to the selected CUG - "Help me. I am in danger". This app is indeed useful as it doesn't just come to your rescue but also spreads awareness about personal safety.

India has recently launched the Guardian safety application, available free exclusively for Windows Phone users. The app, true to its name, aims to be a genuine guide and extremely user-friendly, instilling a sense of security among users. The app works rather simply - the user merely needs to tap the button and immediately, it sends an alert SMS to registered contacts and security groups, along with location details. Also, it sends emails to other email IDs and even posts to private Facebook groups, if registered. The Guardian app operates through Windows Azure cloud services and Bing Map APIs. It also has a 'track me' feature that help friends and family track one in real time. Guardian also helps one connect to security agencies, the police and hospitals. The interesting part is the app claims one can be tracked even if the phone is broken (something we couldn't check out) and allows one-touch video recording, which might be used later as evidence. The app covers all areas to ensure the safety of its users.

First Published: Sun, January 05 2014. 22:29 IST