A few days ago, I was in the middle of a philosophical rant with a friend about life increasingly losing its value and humanity being best explained in quotes rather than real-life examples. People die on roads because other people do not feel impelled to take them to the hospital; robbery turns fatal because a poor man tried to fight off thieves alone. These are just a few examples of lack of empathy and people’s unwillingness to save fellow citizens’ lives by acting immediately.
While some people consider population as the root cause for most problems, others point fingers at politicians for their plight. However, there are a few good men who see light in darkness and come out with help for others. Jaspal Oberoi, a merchant navy captain, has taken a good first step to assure safety of citizens by citizens and the citizens, through Blink Safety, an app he has developed.
The app currently supports Android devices only and can be downloaded from Google Play Store. The rationale is simple. It connects all the app users through the Blink Safety server, and sends out a distress signal in the time of need through a notification to nearby app users, so that someone comes forward to help.
Here is how the app works:
The app is quite straightforward. Once downloaded and installed, user can sign up and log into the app using his mobile number. Once logged in, the app shows a map with the user’s current location, along with a utility menu at the bottom.
The utility menu covers police stations, hospitals, nearby users and friends, along with the notification menu that shows all notifications at one place.
To test out the app and its feature, there is a test mode inside the primary menu that can be accessed by clicking on the three horizontal lines (menu key) placed on the extreme top left corner. The test mode allows the user to test the app’s functionality, but it requires another friend with Blink Safety app installed in his/her phone.
The app can be configured to send out distress signals using two methods – power key and on-screen command. From the app settings, the power key can be configured to send out signals when pressed five times consecutively. Once activated, the app sends out a signal to other app users within a radius of 2 km, along with a 10-second audio recording and geography coordinates. The audio recording not only helps understand the criticality of a situation but also helps push police personnel to take instant action. The coordinates allow other users to reach the distress location using the app’s integrated map services. On the other hand, the distress signal can also be sent by dragging down the on-screen location pin.
Overall, the app is fairly simple to use but has a prerequisite – user base – to be useful in a time of need. The app would be a success only if more and more people join the cause and take steps to help others. Without a user base, the app might not be a safety solution that we all seek today.