Women’s safety in the country has been a prime concern for the present government. While the government has been busy framing laws, tech companies have been trying to make women self-sufficient in crisis situations. Last year Mumbai based technology firm, iBall had announced a first of its women safety smartphone ‘Andi Uddaan’ with dedicated emergency buttons.
To make the handset more credible for women, the company has tied up with location-based services and maps company MapmyIndia to integrate its people locator app Locate within the handset to provide relevant location details.
The Andi Uddaan handset was launched with a SOS physical button on the rear side to help women during dire situations. Once activated the device sets-off a loud siren to alert the public around the area and also shoots off SMS (with location details) and makes calls to pre-defined contacts (max: 5). That’s not all, it also automatically updates the victim’s Facebook page asking for help. However, iBall is yet to clarify how it will handle situations like accidental push of the button, as pointed out by MediaNama.
With the new partnership, the app Locate will be powering the SOS feature of the handset, which sends a MapmyIndia maps link along with the SMS to the pre-defined emergency contacts. It also offers opt-in real time person tracking and geo-fencing which allows users to set a geographical area as a fence & any breach will trigger an alert to the emergency contacts.
Right now the Locate app works without any glitches but that wasn’t the case when it was launched. I tested the Android version of the app and after registering with the app it located my current co-ordinates. The app allows you to add upto ten people; once confirmed you track your friend or family’s movement live on an interactive map as they check-in. Available on all mobile platforms, the app is effective with GPS and Wi-Fi or internet data packs.
The move made by iBall definitely adds to its claim of manufacturing a women safety handset. The penetration of smartphones in the country is spiking up but they are nowhere close to the feature phone market and data packs are still expensive in the country. According to the company location is cached locally when phone does not have GPRS connectivity and is updated as soon as data connection is back. However it is still a concern and with the app depending on live GPS feeds, it becomes a critical issue.
Nevertheless, the company is working on making its handset Andi Uddaan a desirable gadget for the women in the country. Will the company’s efforts make the female buyers go for the handset, when other established players are yet to address the issue, even after the Government has made the SOS feature mandatory for handset providers?
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