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Posted at: Feb 2, 2015, 12:26 AM; last updated: Feb 1, 2015, 9:16 PM (IST)

Tech to the rescue

Technology is a woman’s constant companion. We give you top five phone apps to keep you feeling secure as you tread the streets
Tech to the rescue

Somya Abrol

The Damini rape case of December 2013 shook many a status quo- ist out of stupor. A part of the change was to put all our faculties to making the country a safer place for women, as well as people in general. And hence began the deluge of technologically sound alert applications such as VithU, Pukar, BeSafe and the likes. Do women feel safer with their phones in hand now? Maybe not. But, the fact that we can convey our emergency to a loved one does lend some hope. So, here’s a lowdown on some of the most pragmatic safety applications for women out there:

1) Shake2Safety: This app was not intended to be just for women. In fact, app developer, 29-year-old Sahil Ayare was quite taken aback by the Sydney Lindt Café shooting of December 2014, which made him come up with an application that won’t let your captivator know you’re up to something, because this app doesn’t require you to unlock your phone. All you need to do is shake your phone – sensitivity settings are pre-set by you, so are your emergency contact details. Once shaken (not stirred), your emergency contact receives a message -- with your GPS location link on Google Maps -- saying you’re in trouble and the phone also automatically dials your emergency contact’s number. And, what’s even better is that the app works even without the internet. You just need to have your location settings ‘on’. And, last but not the least, the app developer, Sahil is a Chandigarh boy who completed his MBA from Michigan University, US. For the past two years, he has been running an app developer company called PhotonApps. “My first app I developed was the Toilet Finder. Though it did not do very well in the tricity, thanks to the conditions of your public loos, it couldn’t deter me from helping people by the only medium I knew – technology. Next, I’m working on an obstruction-alert app for the blind,” says Sahil.

2) Scream Alarm!: Though you’ll have to unlock your screen to activate this app, this off-beat idea does click. At just one touch, this app allows you to raise an alarm by playing a pre-recorded screeching woman’s scream. Brought to us by GoPal Appmaker, helmed by a one-man army, this app has been running successfully on Android since November 2013.

3) TellTail: This app, especially useful for frequent cab users, is in collaboration with Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd. The application allows the user to be tracked through the GPS on the vehicle or their phone. The user can send an instant alert to a chosen group of individuals when in a murky situation. The app then lets your location be known to those contacts even if you don’t have GPS on your phone, because most cabs are GPS enabled. Runs successfully on Adroid.

4) SafetiPin: If you’re moving to a new town, this app is somewhat like a virtual guide – not only can you set your ‘circles of interest’, you can also detect the safe and unsafe areas of the city through user-based reviews. The app features a map-based interface and allows you to rate each place you visit. Clearly, not useful only for women, but everyone who is iffy about going about town at ‘ghastly’ hours.

5) Secure Her: Technology seems to have the answer to loneliness. If you’re alone in a new town, this app is the alternative to your human support system. Secure Her sends a distress signal as soon as you double tap the app icon on your phone. Then, a call centre responds to your signal, inquiring about the nature, and sends help your way accordingly. Though this app is functional only in India so far, plans to have it on phones all over the world are underway.

somya@tribunemail.com

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