Public Safety

5 Personal security technologies to help keep you safe

Published: Thursday, April 13, 2017

From mobile applications to wearables, the technology industry is changing how consumers view personal safety. Gone are the days when people just relied on only items such as pepper spray to keep themselves safe. New personal safety wearables and mobile applications are being brought into the market every year. Tech industry analysts from CCS Insights, a team of analysts that offer a variety of technology services, predict that there will be 2 million tokens, clip-ons and jewelry in the wearable market by 2021.

Listed below are some of the notable personal safety tech items that can help you stay safe wherever you are.

Nimb

Nimb is a safety device disguised as a ring.

From the outside, Nimb looks like an average ring, but inside it is so much more. The device is a Bluetooth enabled emergency alert system that features a panic button that can send a signal to a preset list of contacts. With a touch of a thumb, the device can contact friends, family, first responders or Nimb's 24/7 call centers. Nimb will vibrate to let the wearer know that a message has gone out and help is on the way. In addition, the Nimb panic button is not just for personal safety. The device can also be used for medical and caregiving emergencies.

Safer Smart Jewelry

Leaf Wearable is a necklace turned safety device.

Leaf Wearable, an Indian start-up made up of five IIT Delhi and Delhi Technological University students, were shocked by the number of Indian women who are sexually assaulted and sought to find a solution. The team created a piece of technology that looks like a necklace but has the power of a personal safety wearable accessory.

Safer is a smart device in the form of a necklace. It comes in three colors and features a SOS button that, when pressed twice, sends an emergency alert with a location to a specified guardian. The device also can share the user's location while traveling and helps the wearer navigate to the nearest hospital or police station. The device uses Bluetooth 4.0 technology and pairs with both iOS and Android smartphones.

Co-Founder Manik Mehta was quoted by CNN Money as saying, "We're often asked why five young men want to tackle this issue. Our answer is that this isn't a male or female issue. This is a problem that is confronting us as human beings. It shouldn't matter who creates the solution."

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch OS3 software includes new personal safety features.

Most are familiar with the Apple Watch, but with the introduction of the watchOS3 software comes new personal safety features worth mentioning. The software allows users can make SOS calls, which will automatically contact local emergency responders or specified SOS contacts. After an SOS call is made, the watch also alerts SOS contacts with a text message, unless canceled. The text message contains the current location for the user. In addition, the watch will send the SOS contacts updates when the user's location changes. Just like regular calls with the Apple Watch, the user's iPhone needs to be nearby or the watch needs to be connected to a known Wi-Fi network, and have Wi-Fi calling enabled.

Make sure to update your Apple Watch to be able to utilize these personal safety features.

Occly

Occly's wearable personal safety device is designed to be a visible deterrent.

This device is unlike most personal safety tech because Occly is a wearable personal safety device specially designed to be a visual deterrent. This device features a panic button, cameras, sirens, a microphone, LED lighting, wireless capabilities and a number of automatic alarm sensors. When the alarm is triggered, Occly records the user's surrounding as well as audio, which it then sends to an emergency response center, where call center staff dispatch local authorities. Occly's hardware pairs up with the mobile application CrowdHelp to give users a full range of personal safety tech. CrowdHelp notifies users of an alarm in the immediate area, allows users to mark an area of suspicious activities, sends text alerts to family or friends and more.

The hardware is about the size of a small cellphone and can be clipped to a user's purse or used with an arm strap for ease of use while exercising. The system is Bluetooth enabled and has a battery life of up to 8 hours of continuous use.

Bearcat Guardian App

Bearcat Guardian is UC's campus safety app.

The Bearcat Guardian app is the University of Cincinnati's new safety app, which recently replaced LiveSafe. The app is specifically designed with campus safety in mind. It features a safety timer, an emergency call button, the ability to send anonymous tips UCPD, the ability to select Guardians to virtually "walk" with you and a way to send an easy direct message to your emergency contacts.

The Bearcat Guardian app is a great way to improve your personal safety. The app is available on iOS and Android running on any US-based mobile carrier network.

Written by Michelle Blauman - Student Worker