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Phone service provides safety

Thomas Fox , Life Writer
May 6, 2014
Filed under Life

Kitestring is the latest safety web service that aims to make sure people get from point A to point B safely, notifying their emergency contacts if they don’t.

Users tell Kitestring they’re in a dangerous area or situation, and give it a time frame of when to check in on them. If the user doesn’t reply back when it checks their status, it alerts their emergency contacts with a custom message.

The check-in time can be easily changed if a user is taking longer than expected by texting Kitestring “10m” for 10 more minutes, or he or she turns it off entirely by telling it “ok.”

There is also an ability to set customized check-in and duress codes, which add an extra layer of security.

Kitestring is not the first and only service of its kind. However unlike services such as bSafe or Nirbhaya, Kitestring doesn’t need to be touched or shaken to send a distress signal. Instead, Kitestring is slightly smarter by alerting people to action through inaction.

Kitestring is also a web-based service and not an app, which makes things easier to fix according to the creator, Stephan Boyer.

It doesn’t use GPS tracking services, but relies on the user telling it where they are going and how long it should take. By using no GPS tracking services, it’s free,  unlike many other apps that use GPS.

Danielle Davis, senior nursing major, thinks Kitestring is a good idea.

“It sounds interesting to me. I do see the point of it being a good safety feature,” Davis said. “A lot of people, especially women, can get harassed after bar close and can be in bad situations when walking alone, so it is a good idea that way.”

However Davis doesn’t think it’s perfect.

“Although I like the idea of it, it could be a problem,” Davis said. “If I was to get home after bar close and I fell asleep, then everyone in my emergency contacts would be getting these messages for no reason.”

Jordan Fryer, junior sociology major, sees how it could be handy.

“I don’t know if I’d use it often,“ Fryer said. “I’ve survived this long without needing any safety devices helping me. But it could be handy in certain situations like, if I’m driving somewhere I’ve never been before at night, it would be nice to know I’ve got it if everything goes wrong.”

Luke Conway, sophomore, thinks it would be useful for his girlfriend.

“I really like the app because my girlfriend works in a bad part of Chicago,” Conway said. “It would make her feel better about the commute to and from work if there was a device like this to let me know if she got in any trouble or something.”

Kitestring can’t prevent bad things happening, but it will help the chances of being helped quicker and, in some cases, maybe even saved.

“On my iPhone I have an app that if I lose my phone, sends out a GPS signal for people trying to find it, so if you combine that with this safety thing, then the chances of being saved, helped or whatever will increase drastically and will make people feel safer in bad situations for sure.”

Kitestring works on any phone with a web browser.

For more information on this safety feature go to www.kitestring.io.

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