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Need help? An app is at hand

T.E. Raja Simhan
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V. Latha, a Chennai housewife, can now track the whereabouts of her daughter Preethi, a third-year engineering student, throughout the day.

Through a free mobile application (app) SafeTrac, Latha can track Preethi’s movement on a real-time basis, either from home, on the Internet, or on a hand-held device that has Google Maps and an Internet connection.

In case of an emergency, or when Preethi feels unsafe or threatened, she can click the ‘Emergency’ button in the app. This will immediately send out an SMS and e-mail alerts to the emergency contacts registered by the user. Since the location of Preethi is readily known, help can be rushed to her immediately.

The Chennai-based KritiLabs has developed the app as a social initiative following last month’s rape incident in Delhi. It was developed based on the company’s Transport Operation Mobile Management software platform, which is largely intended for the logistics industry, said Srikrishna Varadharajan, Consulting and Business Development, KritiLabs.

The moment a SafeTrac alert is initiated by Preethi, her mother will know the route she is taking, in real time. Any deviation from the usual route, and she can call her daughter immediately.

The app works through the global positioning system. At present, Google Maps has an app called My Location, which shows the precise location only to the mobile owner. The same concept has been used in the app but with both mobile and Internet integrated through a central server.

Currently, SafeTrac works on Google’s Android-based phone but there are plans to extend it to other platforms, including iPhone and BlackBerry, says Varadharajan. SafeTrac can be accessed at www.safetrac.in. Users need to first register by providing the requisite information. On successful registration, an email is sent with instructions on downloading and installing the app on one’s mobile phone, he said.

Going forward, the company plans to provide SafeTrac with features such as alerting the nearest police patrol / station when the ‘Emergency’ button is clicked.

It will also be integrated with sites such as www.safecity.in (a project to make public places safer) and provide users with options to report ‘softer situations’ when the user feels apprehensive or perceives harassment, said L.N. Rajaram, Product Development and Training, KritiLabs.

raja.simhan@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 4, 2013)
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