Bipper AS, a Norwegian tech company best known for Bipper, a parental control smartphone program, have come out with a new application that has already seen considerable European success: bSafe. The application allows you to immediately send out an S.O.S. if you find yourself in trouble while out walking at night. It does this by sending text messages and phone calls to a predetermined list of “Guardians” who function as your emergency contact and who are given a map of your exact location. This information can then, presumably, be passed on to the police.
The bSafe application, which available globally this week for both Android and iPhone users, has already hit select European markets. It has seen impressive success there, garnering media publicity and surpassing two of the most popular apps in the world – Angry Birds and Facebook – in recent downloads.
bSafe has proven that it can be successful, then. But can it actually keep you safe while walking at night? Can it give your phone a security feature besides a basic reverse phone lookup? Is it worth having as a last-ditch, security precaution?
The short answer, it would seem, is no. If you’re truly in a dangerous situation, calling 9-1-1 is probably easier and it is certainly more effective. Most cell phones allow you to program 9-1-1 into one of the speed dial options (usually “9″) and a police dispatcher can figure out your location even if you don’t provide one. Having a text sent to your best friend saying that you’re in trouble is simply not going to give you the same rapidity of response. Think about it; in this hypothetical situation, your friend will likely try calling you back first, just to make sure that you truly need their help. It is probably only if they don’t get an answer that they’ll call 9-1-1. Getting the bSafe app, then, can take away valuable time if you do find yourself in an emergency.
But the application does have some intriguing uses and possibilities, albeit not those that it originally intended. For example, it allows you to go into “Risk Mode”, which tracks your exact location by GPS and can then send that route to a designated computer. For people who want to go for a run and then see their route sitting on the screen when they get back, bSafe is an appealing application. Furthermore, the app’s general mapping and navigation software is accurate, fast, and easy to use.
So I might find myself downloading bSafe in the near future. But I certainly don’t plan to send out any S.O.S.’s – whether or not I find myself in a dangerous situation.
This guest post is by Nancy Evans. She is a freelance writer that specializes in tech and business.