This idea evolved from a thought that teenagers and young people going for a night out could take many steps to keep themselves and their friends safe by planning ahead.
The combined use of a website and a smartphone app combined with an optional hardware panic button could achieve this. The website would provide information about how to plan a safe night with endorsement from the local police and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. Included in the site would also be a range of useful online services designed to provide practical assistance with planning. These may include access to local bus and train timetables, maps to check routes with data overlaid to provide local safe havens, toilets, police stations, chemists etc. Approved licensed taxi firms could be listed along with an alcohol units calculator. This would support a smartphone app that is available to download for free and which can incorporate all the information available on the website into a portable safety kit which can contain personal, localised and bespoke information.
Features of the smartphone app,
The app can be downloaded to the phone and used independently of the website or, with a registration to the website, it can work alongside the website. The key feature is to make the product versatile and customisable to suit the person. This means it can be used discreetly, covertly, socially, by young or old alike and in an emergency. The app can be 'skinned' to suit a young person's night out, a junior school trip to the museum or a senior person's trip out for the day on a coach trip.
User data - will store name, sex, age, address, contact details. The app will interface with the phone's address book to save re-keying information already available.
Friend data - same as above.
Trusted emergency contacts - same as above. Could be Mum or Dad, Aunt, best friend or best friend's parents. A cascaded list could be set up - Contact John first, if that doesn't work, try Mum, then Dad, then Gran. If that doesn't work send a general message to any app users in the area.
Planned schedule - start time, meeting times, home time.
Meeting points - stored locations like pubs, clubs, train stations, bus stops and meeting points.
Emergency credit - A system which saves £5 of PAYG credit for emergency use only.
Safe Havens - Known places in the local area which are accredited as being safe - shops, tourist information, council offices, 24 hour chemists, police stations.
Safe people - Known people who could be close by and trusted if in need of help - Street Pastors, Special Constables, Officers or Community Support Officers, door staff, ambulance staff.
(Safe Havens and Safe People show up on a map with the havens described by a green building symbol and people by a green person symbol. The people could be real-time and displayed via GPS carried by the trusted safe people.)
Threatening situations - If in danger, the phone can be programmed to react as required to alert friends, family or other 'SafeNightOut' users. Covert alerts could be activated by tapping or shaking the phone in a pocket or by activating an emergency button placed on the phone's home screen. On activation in covert mode, the phone silently sends message alerts to pre-programmed friends, family or other SafeNightOut users, maybe in a timed cascaded process - trusted friends first, family a minute later and other users a minute after than. Friends may receive a txt message, a pre-recorded call, a specially set-up ringtone or be alerted to a map on their phone showing the live location of the person in need of help.
Lost my Phone - The same types of alerts could also be used to locate a misplaced phone. If it is moved far enough away from the bluetooth device, the device can activate its LED light or sound the siren. As you go back to search for your phone, the LED light could blink more rapidly, the closer you get to your phone (based on the signal strength of the bluetooth signal). If this doesn't work, you could use someone else's phone to access your online account and geo-locate your phone that way.
Absolute emergency - If the situation is so desperate that there is no time for any other action, the user could simply throw their phone as far away as they possibly could. As the phone goes beyond the safe scope of the bluetooth device, it activates the siren/LED light. If the phone survives the impact when it lands, it too can start sending emergency messages to trusted friends etc.
There are many other enhancements and small details to define for this project. The next step would be to prioritise the features, scope the cost of development, define who should 'own' the project, investigate commercial potential of the bluetooth push/pull panic buttons, create marketing materials to further document the brief, decide upon a name, URL registration, sourced of further external funding etc. etc. etc.