Someone follows you down a dark alley or you feel a sudden tightening in your chest. You’re in a bad situation. Don’t panic! Okay, go ahead and panic, but at least do it productively. Call 911, determine your location and send the coordinates to your loved ones, get your medical records in order. Or better yet, hit this big red button.
Mobile software developer Avanquest Mobile Technologies has designed a panic button for smartphones. Upon launching the app you’re presented with a big emergency button. Once you press it the app immediately begins a countdown, which, if you don’t stop by the time it reaches zero, will set the rest of the app’s wheels in motion.
It doesn’t matter what country you’re in, the app will call the relevant emergency line. It will send SMS messages with your GPS coordinates to a list of friends, relatives or emergency contacts. Notices of medical conditions immediately start flashing on screen along. Oh, did I mention the phone makes a hell of a racket? A siren will sound, alerting everyone around to your presence until deactivated or the phone goes dead.
There are other emergency apps available in the smartphone markets, though none of them seem to go to quite the lengths of Avanquest’s Mobile Alert service. Avanquest’s business model is also a bit different. It doesn’t plan to sell its software through iTunes or Google Play. Rather, it’s selling it as a platform to carriers, handset makers and other resellers who can customize it as a stand-alone service or package it with other features specific to their businesses, Avanquest VP Brian Yarosh told me.
Perspective buyers might be medical insurance companies, looking to offer some around-the-clock protection to their clients, or travel agencies, who want to ensure their customers can call the police when traveling overseas. Yarosh said that, as with much of its software, carriers may choose to package it into their family plans, giving children a means of notifying their parents as well as the police if they encounter trouble.
Of course it’s not fool proof, but if you’re in trouble the last you have is your wits. A big shiny “Help Me!” button you can mash with your palm would come in awfully handy.