There’s a rape reported every 16 minutes in India, India registers 88 cases of rape every day and India is the most dangerous country for women. While all this is true, it’s also true that women can’t sit back and have to go on with their lives, albeit with some kind of assurance. And technology rose to this occasion a while ago. But how efficiently so? Let’s find out.
“I share my location with my family and close friends each time I go to a new place. My parents call me four to five times a day and I make it a point to reach home before 8pm,” said Namita, a student, while elaborating on the safety measures she takes.
Several mobile applications and devices are available to help keep women safe and women do opt for them. The Electronics spoke to the users to find out how are the best-known women’s safety apps and devices catering to their needs.
Launched by the Union government as a part of its Emergency Response Support System, the 112 India application provides assistance in all kinds of crises.
At the time of distress, the app sends the user’s details and location to the state emergency control room and alerts the user’s emergency contacts too. It has a 24X7 support centre and covers issues like health, fire, police, and disaster management.
“The first thing I did when I came to Bangalore was download 112 India. I haven’t used the app for a while now. I noticed that it drains my phone battery pretty quickly. If I happen to be in a situation of emergency, I’d like my phone to at least be charged. Moreover, it would glitch sometimes and even when I was safe, an SOS call would be placed automatically. I’d have to mark myself safe after that, otherwise control rooms would be alerted,” added Namita.
The app assesses personal safety by calculating safety scores of areas. Through this, women can choose the safest route for their travel, especially at night.
It assigns these scores by collecting data across parameters like light, people, openness and visibility, public transport and also gender usage.
Apart from this, alerts can be sent out to emergency contacts when a user enters a low safety route, if a sudden change in route happens, or if a user remains on the same route for a prolonged time. It also helps users find the closest and safest public places to wait, especially at night.
On the Google Play app store, the reviews range from the app being a “great initiative” to it not even being able to “detect user’s location despite the GPS being on”.
A one-of-a-kind app that can work with a locked phone and without internet. All this app requires is the users to shake their phone vigorously or press their home buttons four times for it to call their primary contact and send messages to their emergency contacts.
It also has the option of switching this feature off to avoid accidental alerts. With new features, a picture or MMS can also be sent along with the location of the user.
This is the most commonly used safety feature for women. Most smartphones come with an in-built SOS feature. For both Android and iOS, the activated SOS feature sends an alert to registered emergency contacts. In addition, this can also be linked to emergency contacts like the police and the ambulance.
“I’ve never used an app or device for safety, although my work requires regular night shifts. I have an iPhone and I have activated the SOS feature. I’ve also added my emergency contacts on speed dial,” said Sarah, a medical intern.
“Looking at the current scenario of women’s safety, I am considering buying a device, but those can get too expensive. It’s a bit difficult for me to find something which can guarantee my safety, considering that I’m away from my phone most of the day,” added Sarah.
Leaf Wearables’ Safer
Leaf Wearables, a Delhi-based smart jewellery startup, came up with a device Safer for women’s safety. The device is a small non-corrosive pendant which can be used to send signals to registered emergency contacts. The pendant has a battery life of seven days on 15 minutes of charging. The device is connected to the ‘Safer by Leaf’ app on the user’s phone and it requires Bluetooth connection. It weighs around 40g and comes in different colours to appeal to fashion conscious users.
While the advancements in safety technology are much appreciated and needed, a greater importance should lie on creating long term solutions for issues like sexual violence and women’s safety.