Mumbai’s locals, which have of late turned into rolling corridors of crime, will soon be enmeshed in a cover of security with a mobile app that only needs to be shaken to send out an SOS to the police. Utv Pakistan Report
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has set the wheels moving to release the unique app on the Western Railway network within a few weeks. What it will do is trigger an alert in the RPF control room the moment a distressed commuter gives it a good wobble.
The app encodes all the wisdom gleaned from past failings of similar applications, which couldn’t help commuters much due to issues like their constantly changing location, patchy network connectivity, and so on.
With a slew of molestation incidents reported on trains and stations, the application is a stitch in time especially for women who will be empowered to shake off their assailants.
“M-indicator (security app) received modest success with commuters as far as security is concerned. But this new app has a targeted approach to women’s security,” said a senior security official of the RPF.
How It Works
The moment the phone is shaken, the app will get activated and — after sounding the alarm to cops — start recording an audio-visual clip of the surroundings for up to a minute. The clip will be sent to the RPF control room in Churchgate, which also operates the railways’ pan-India 182 helpline in the city.
While the audio recording will last up to 60 seconds, the video can stretch up to 20.
The app will take a minute to send the audio file, followed by the video file.
One of the developers of the app said, “If a person has triggered the alert but is constantly moving, the app will keep updating their real-time locations in the control room.” For the app to function, the commuter needs to enable their GPS as well as the ‘location known’ option on their cell phones.
Once roused, the app will stay active and continue to track the commuter’s location for 10 minutes.
During this time, if the phone is switched off or the SIM card pulled out, the programme will not get deactivated and keep recording information. The moment it finds the bars of the network back, the app will quickly send out the location information it has stored all at once to the control room.
It will only be turned off with the commuter’s user ID and password.
Shaken, Not Stirred
You’d be able to store up to eight emergency contacts in the programme. These contacts will not only get the alert and the audio-visual clip when the phone is shaken, but will also receive emergency calls from the phone to ease their worries. They can choose to switch off the app in case it is a false alarm.
The programme is being created by city-based tech developer Eye Watch, which earlier developed a similar eponymous application. But the one it is testing now is more conducive for the suburban railway network.
“We are in the process of fine-tuning the application to suit the geography of the suburban system so that these alarms function only when the commuter is within the railway premises,” said assistant vice-president (business development) Vishal Kapadiya.
The RPF team handling the control room will be trained to use the technology. Next, the force will organise workshops and seminars to tell commuters about how to use the app for best results. It has already seen one unveiling at a recent security seminar for students of BM Ruia College in Matunga.
The security feature has been designed to operate on multiple platforms including iOS, Android, Blackberry and Symbian (Nokia). An RPF official said besides being useful during emergencies, the application can be used to record suspicious events or elements and send the recordings to the police.
RPF senior divisional security commissioner for Western Railway, Anand Vijay Jha, said the audio-visual feature will help the authorities understand the gravity of the crisis, so they can despatch enforcement accordingly. “The app is still in a preliminary stage, but once ready for use, which should happen by August, it will go a long way towards improving women’s security.”