A new app launching today provides a single-tap, multi-target alert system for your iPhone or iPod touch. Guardly automatically alerts contacts of your choosing if you feel you’re in danger or have reason to quickly and easily alert a group of people to your location and current situation.
With the free version, you’ll be limited to just creating groups and assigning contacts to them. These could include friends in your immediate geographical area, for instance, or maybe a special selection of friends and relatives who know your medical history and allergies. You can send alerts (phone, email and SMS text) to these groups of contacts with one click from within the app, but in order to get the full Guardly experience you have to pay up for either a monthly ($9.99) or a yearly subscription ($99.99), which you can do through in-app purchase. Remember that Apple sees 30 percent of that revenue, but Guardly seems more than willing to pay in order to use iOS as a platform for distributing its subscription-based, software-as-a-service offering, something I anticipated as a possible trend following Apple’s introductions of in-app subscriptions.
Subscribing also adds the ability to call 911 with a single tap of the app’s icon from the homescreen (after a brief countdown in case of accidental presses). Auto-alerts can also be set to send to any other emergency contact of your choosing, too. Other premium features include in-app conference calling with your group of responders, the ability share map views and instant messages with your contacts in real time, real-time location tracking and the ability to share photos you take with your device with your emergency contacts.
Guardly is also smart about how and when it calls emergency numbers. It will detect any network failures and automatically call once a signal is reestablished, and it detects your current country using location services and automatically dials the correct emergency number based on that info. The app also offers a loud siren that can be activated in case of emergency.
This is an incredibly sophisticated app that makes amazing use of the iPhone’s built-in capabilities to provide as comprehensive a personal safety solution as you can find in an app. It even sets up your Guardly app’s outgoing caller ID to be that of your iPhone, making it much easier for emergency services and contacts to track you down should you fail to actually get through.
Guardly doesn’t offer much in the free version of its app, but it provides such a polished, thorough experience from beginning to end in terms of app functionality that I won’t be surprised to see people eager to sign up for paid Guardly subscriptions. A SaaS model will also help ensure that the app has a consistent, sustainable revenue stream, which should go a long way towards ensuring the lights don’t go out at a company that many may come to depend on as a personal security resource.
I’m reminded of the emergency call buttons posted at lamposts around campus at colleges and universities when I think of Guardly, only the app model works better because it’s available everywhere and seldom leaves your person. I’m actually surprised more smartphones don’t offer more of this sort of thing as a built-in option, but I expect to see more similar solutions pop up from all sources now that Guardly is making waves.