Your cellphone can help you stay safe on SA’s roads

Samsung, in partnership with Tracker, announced the Shout app today (15 March 2012) – an Android smartphone application that offers an SOS feature, crime search and hotspot notification.

The Shout SA campaign is an initiative driven by local musicians, Danny K and Kabelo, who launched it after the passing of Lucky Dube due to an act of crime.

“Crime remains a very relevant part of the life of the daily South African,” said Deon Liebenberg, MD of Samsung Electronics South Africa.

“The Samsung Apps team is proud to be associated with Tracker and SHOUT SA in creating this first-of-its-kind Android application, to put the power of crime-fighting in the hands of smartphone consumers across SA.”

In a press statement also issued today, Cellfind said that, with South Africans set to stream to their favourite holiday destinations for the Easter break, many motorists will be navigating the dangers of the country’s roads.

“Location-based services (LBS) on your cell phone can be a lifesaver in potentially dangerous situations” said Jacques Swanepoel, managing director of Cellfind, a member of Blue Label Mobile.

Vodacom and MTN location-based services

Swanepoel continued saying that, by using LBS services like Vodacom look 4 me and MTN WhereRU, your loved ones can check up on you without the distraction of a phone call while driving.

Using these services, they can request your location by sending a query using SMS, USSD or by visiting a website. Your position is determined by locating your cellphone using cellular towers, and the information is sent back as text or a map.

Swanepoel said that LBS services like Vodacom look 4 help and MTN 2MyAid, turn your cell phone into a panic button – summoning help when you need it most.

With the press of an assigned speed-dial, your location is established, and the information is sent via SMS to your 4 pre-determined emergency contacts.

These services require no additional software, can be accessed from any cell phone, and are available at monthly fees of between R11.70 and R12.70.

Shout Android app

The Shout app will be free to download from the Samsung Apps store from April 2012.

Its SOS feature allows users to call for help using a ‘panic button’ widget, which gives the user the option of requesting the following types of help:

  • Ambulance
  • Fire
  • Police

Upon selecting the relevant icon, the user will be asked if they are sure that they want to place this SOS call. The application then uses GPS to determine the nearest police station, fire station or hospital.

The Shout app will also include a mapping tool, which will plot crimes that were reported in the vicinity of the users’ current location. Users will be able to search for crimes by specifying the location, type or time-frame of the crime.

Through this feature, the mobile device’s GPS will be used to determine when the user enters a crime hotspot. When the user enters such a hotspot, the user will be notified with a warning. Based on the number of reports previously received on a particular area, this feature will then rate the area accordingly on how unsafe it is.

To minimise the battery drain caused by keeping the GPS on permanently, Shout will instead poll periodically to determine whether the user is in a crime hotspot, using cell phone tower triangulation.

Safety tips

Cellfind offers the following additional tips for safe driving with your cell phone this Easter:

  • Ensure that your cell phone battery is fully charged before embarking on your journey, and consider investing in a car charger;
  • Install a hands-free car kit, or buy an earpiece so that you can talk safely on your phone while you’re driving;
  • Use GPS – whether a dedicated device, or GPS software for your cell phone, plan your route for long or unfamiliar destinations.

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Your cellphone can help you stay safe on SA’s roads