This is a snapshot listing the system requirements and a few of the highlighted features for the Safe Personal Safety App mentioned in “Smart Personal Safety and Security.” It also complements “The Gift of Fear,” which discusses how to recognize potentially dangerous situations.
A product of Bipper, located in Palo Alto, CA, this app currently appears to be among the more popular personal safety apps. Free versions are available for both Android and iOS. One reason for its popularity may be that it includes a number of free features that other apps class as premium ones. The current version from Google Play, 3.3.90, requires version 2.3 or higher of Android. The current version from iTunes, 3.3.60, requires iOS 7.0 or later and is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Features of the free version include the following:
- Setup your own social network of personal guardians. There is no limit to the number of friends or family members that you can include as guardians. However, only the contact listed as your Primary Friend will receive a call, all others will receive a SMS message.
- Invite guardians to virtually walk you home via bSafe’s Follow Me live GPS trace on their instance of the app.
- bSafe displays the icons of the guardians who have accepted your request in the top section of the home screen. An audio alert sounds, when they have connected to your device.
- Notify guardians of your current location via bSafe’s I’m Here function.
- Trigger an automatic alarm and alert your guardians if you have not checked in on time using bSafe’s Timer Mode. This allows a level of security without requiring guardian’s to constantly monitor your location.
- bSafe also allows you to spoof an incoming phone call via its Fake Call feature. While I’m sure that some will use it as an excuse to exit time wasting meetings, I believe its intent is to give the user an excuse to exit a blind date that they might be feeling uncomfortable with.
- In the event of an emergency, press bSafe’s Guardian Alert button to notify your guardians that you need help. This will also transmit your current GPS location and starts recording and transmitting your audio and video feed, so that they are aware of what’s happening. This function can also be configured to generate a siren sound.
- bSafe allows you to define a 4-digit PIN code to prevent others from deactivating your alarm.
- bSafe’s web site provides an extensive set of video feature tutorials.
- With bSafe open, your device will NOT go into sleep mode so that all security features remain active and quickly accessible.
There is a premium version, but it is currently available only in Norway, Sweden, and South Africa, but is in the process of being deployed in the United States. The premium version includes 24/7 monitoring by Safe4 professional response centers. So far I have not been able to identify the planned cost of this premium service or the details regarding what premium services, other than 24/7 monitoring, are provided.
John Joyce is a laboratory informatics specialist based in Richmond, VA. He may be reached at editor@ScientificComputing.com.