Personal safety services via mobile phone unveiled


29 Nov 2006

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Top Security has launched new services intended to improve people’s safety by turning their mobile phone into a security device or panic alarm as needed.

Available from today, there are three services under the name TopLocate. They are aimed at parents, the elderly, lone or shift workers, people who travel late at night, outdoor sports enthusiasts or simply people who are out at parties late at night over the Christmas season.

Using a combination of mobile, landline and web technology, the services allow friends or colleagues of the mobile user to be alerted in the event that a person doesn’t arrive home when expected, or if they find themselves in a difficult situation.

The TopLocate Home Safe service is intended for families. In a typical scenario, children arriving home from school would dial a code into their landline phone. If the code is not recorded on or before an agreed time such as 4pm, then an SMS or email alarm would be sent to the parents. Home Safe costs €50 plus Vat per year and this includes all call charges.

TopLocate Mobile SOS is an add-on service to a person’s mobile phone. Someone visiting an unusual or remote location can dial into Top Security’s telecom system and record that event with a notification of when it is likely to finish. If this passes off safely, the user simply calls the number again to clear the alarm. If they don’t, two nominated people are alerted.

An add-on to this service is the ability to use their phone as a panic alarm so that by pushing a designated key on the mobile, it calls a Top Security number and also records what is happening. The service works across all networks and on all mobile phones and is priced at €80 plus Vat per year.

According to Mark Gleeson, general manager of Top Security, these services are exception-based and only raise the alarm in the event of a person not calling in. This means that others aren’t bombarded constantly with texts or emails telling them that everything is normal, increasing the risk that they might ignore a genuine alarm call.

The third service is TopLocate Mobile Tracker and requires a GPS mobile phone, which is available from Top Security. This device functions as a panic alarm, tracking and navigation device. By using GPS technology, the handset’s location can be pinpointed on a web-based mapping service on the TopLocate website. This is available only to people who have passwords and PIN codes.

Gleeson said that there was no suggestion that the services could be used to track people covertly without their knowledge. “With the first two services, they’re totally driven and initiated by the user, there is no element of tracking whatsoever. With the Mobile Tracker, the ability to track is only given to a couple of people that the user wants; they have appointed two trusted people, whether they be family or colleagues at work,” he pointed out.

Like with the Mobile SOS service, the user can preset a button for use as a panic alarm and an alert can be issued to two designated people to inform them if the user is in danger.

The services are intended to “give a degree of comfort to those who may be concerned about their friends or children”, Gleeson said. Based on research the company conducted before launching the service, Top Security is anticipating good demand for them. “We would expect an initial take-up of several thousand and I think it will develop a momentum after that,” he added.

More information is available at www.toplocate.ie.

By Gordon Smith

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