Last month, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issued a circular notifying all mobile phone handset manufacturers to instate a panic button and global positioning system (GPS) in all handsets by January 2017 and January 2018 respectively.
The objective for these features is to provide women in threatening situations a facility that allows them to send a distress signal to family members or police authorities. Ensuring women’s safety and security has become an urgent requirement across India. A built-in GPS can help agencies locate someone quickly in times of crisis.
In terms of modalities, the DoT has notified that all feature phones should have the facility of panic button configured to the numeric key 5 or 9 and all smart phones will have the panic button configured to three times short pressing of the on-off button. The circular states that the ministry will also work with smartphone makers to make the feature available in existing phones through a software patch, that will be made available for direct download in the smart phones and or through installation at the mobile phone shops by the concerned manufacturers/service providers.
While the intent to treat women’s safety as the top most priority is well founded, a panic button by itself would be a part solution to this serious problem, unless backed by a 24X7 emergency helpline and a first response system. A panic button integrated with a unified helpline, supported by quick action and immediate on-ground response, 24×7 either by the local authorities or a service provider like One Touch Response, is the kind of fool-proof and zero-tolerance solution this pressing problem requires.
One Touch Response’s (OTR) technology offering and a solution can act as a great value add to mobile phone manufacturers as they work towards complying with the DoT notice in providing an inbuilt panic button and GPS. With OTR’s open Application Program Interface (API), mobile phone companies can integrate the service directly in the phones, bringing an assured quick response to customers who are in situations that are threatening their personal safety and security. While smartphones can integrate the OTR app, feature phones can also take advantage of the OTR solution by integrating its SOS service with the SMS system.
OTR provides citizens last mile support to get to the relevant government agencies, in times of distress. At the receiving end of OTR apps and buttons, is its Command & Control Centres handholding customers including women in emergency situations over the phone as well as on-ground by Immediate Assistance Teams (IATs) that are alerted to reach the caller within minutes. IAT’s then remain with the user till the emergency is resolved or taken to its logical solution.
OTR’s extensive database of emergency service providers across locations also enables the Company to address all sorts of emergencies in a swift and responsible manner. Integration of the app/ SOS system in mobile phones will democratize safety without increasing costs.
Arvind Khanna, Founder, One Touch Response says, “The panic button in mobile handsets, supported with a helpline and a strong on-ground response team can revolutionize the safety mindset of all, and particularly of women in our country. At One Touch Response, our objective is simple, to safeguard citizens and provide an assured quick response when they are faced with any real life situation involving personal safety. The DoT notification gives us an impetus to collaborate with mobile phone companies by integrating our services and technologies towards addressing this pressing and urgent requirement.”