News
App puts security in student hands
29 July 2012

Whether it’s walking to the car at night or staying back at the office, we’ve all felt nervous about our safety before. UOW aims to improve safety on campus when it begins the Pilot Program of SafeZone, a new operation which transforms smartphones into personal sensors which give security officers a complete view of the situation.

CriticalArc have already conducted some trials with UOW Security with SafeZone. Now SafeZone will be piloted on UOW’s Wollongong campus, where it will be monitored and responded to by UOW Security. The free app will be available to all UOW staff and students who have a smartphone during spring session from July 30 to December 31.

In particular, the app will provide coverage of the TAFE pathways frequently used by UOW students as well as local streets to the south as far as Murphys Avenue, south of the Botanical Garden.

SafeZone will allow students and staff to send a location-based alert from their smartphones to campus security staff when under duress, needing first-aid or other assistance. The application turns your smartphone into a blue security phone of the like found on campus, so that you don’t need to find a blue security phone to get help or assistance, you just use your smartphone to make contact with security using the three different icons currently available.

The technology is the flagship product of Critical Arc, a company supported by UOW’s iAccelerate initiatives, StartPad, UOW eClub and Pitching Plate. CriticalArc CEO Glenn Farrant said the App allows security officers to respond efficiently and effectively, and combats issues associated with misunderstood directions.

“SafeZone allows users to call for help from UOW Security within the identified zone. It includes a sensor that provides security officers with the user’s exact location. Users are also capable of reporting incidents without directly becoming involved,” he said.

If you are outside of the Wollongong Campus SafeZone, you can still use the application as it will help connect you to Triple Zero “000” for assistance from Police, Fire and Rescue, and the Ambulance Service.

The App will be launched and available to Staff and Students from Monday 30th July. A SafeZone Stall will be set-up adjacent to the Library 12pm-2pm to demonstrate the app and provide staff and students with information on how to download the app. The app will be promoted to students attending evening classes throughout the week. A SafeZone UOW information page has been set-up and is available on the internet at: http://www.uow.edu.au/about/security/index.html.

David Anderson, UOW’s Manager Security said he and his team are very excited about piloting SafeZone.

“With the opportunity to turn staff and students smartphones into a blue security phone, which places help at their finger tips is a very new concept and one we are looking forward to exploring. We will be keen to get as many staff and students downloading the app. and to get their feedback and impressions about it. For international students who are not familiar with how to contact emergency services, (Police, Fire and Rescue, Ambulance Service), this app should be helpful, as the app will help connect students with Triple Zero “000” when they are off campus and outside of the Wollongong Campus SafeZone,” he said.

UOW Innovation and Commercial Research Director Elizabeth Eastland said the SafeZone pilot was a testament to the iAccelerate vision.

“Through CriticalArc’s engagement with iAccelerate programs StartPad, eClub and workshops, they have been provided with essential support needed for development. This is a real life example of how UOW and local businesses can engage with technology start-ups to make a significant difference to their success and speed to market,”she said.

SafeZone will be available to UOW staff and students to pilot from July 30 – December 31. The app is free and is available for iOS (iPhone) and Android. Visit www.safezoneapp.com for links to app stores and more information.

Users can provide feedback through normal UOW Staff and Student feedback channels as well as feedback can be provided directly to CriticalArc on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/safezoneapp.

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