A downtown Toronto university will be giving its students a free panic button in their pockets this fall, rolling out a mobile app that they will use to call for help in on-campus emergencies.
Toronto-based Guardly Corp. is providing the personal safety app to OCAD University after years of collaboration, months of testing, and a pilot program. That pilot program demonstrated that campus safety response times were cut nearly in half when the mobile app was used in simulated incidents.
Guardly is a free app available on Android, iOS, and BlackBerry smartphones. Users can pre-program a list of emergency contacts to receive an alert. Then when needed, a panic button connects the sender with their contacts. It can create a conference call with the group, broadcast GPS location, facilitate a text discussion, and deliver status updates – such as whether an ambulance has been called.
Guardly Command is a Web-based incident management system that OCAD University’s security team will use to field incoming alerts from its students. If a student or faculty member triggers a Guarly alert while on OCAD’s campus boundaries, personnel receive the in-bound information on a dashboard.
Guardly is a graduate of the school’s Mobile Experience Innovation Centre incubator program.
OCAD University students can download with the Guardly Safe Campus app through the school’s Web site.
Waterloo, Ont.-based Mindr Mobile also offers a personal safety app called Personal Monitor, available on Android devices for a subscription price of $2.99 per month. That firm has partnered with the National Council of Women of Canada, whose members will use the app.