Taking ‘Big Brother’ Out of Mobile Phone Location Services

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Having kids and employees check in using text messaging on cell phones means emergencies can be better detected while ensuring privacy of users.

Companies and individuals around the world are increasingly using mobile phone location technologies (LBS/ GPS), to ensure the safety of their employees and children. These technologies can have serious drawbacks, both in their ability to truly detect danger, and by invading the privacy of those meant to be protected. A new technology, now being released, expects to change all that.

Using mobile phone location technology as a safety tool can be imperfect. “Location services can tell you where the phone is, but it doesn’t tell you that the owner is with the phone, nor does it tell you that they are actually ok”, says Mobile Reach Media Product Development Chief, Phil Cohen. “Our check-in and alert system, EchoAlert Personal Safety, is more accurate at detecting compromised safety”.

The new service, prompts the mobile party via text message on a regular schedule to check in by replying with a special code. If the person fails to do so on time or if the wrong code is sent, the monitoring party will be notified. Safeguards built in to the system ensure that the likelihood of false alerts are reduced, while allowing more or less leniency to the party being monitored according to the needs of the situation.

Says Cohen, “Parents can go to sleep at night knowing they’ll be notified if they’re children don’t check in, and employers can be compliant with the increasing amount of legislation requiring them to protect remote workers”. Where available, location can also be triggered when an alert is sent out.

The service is being tested by 3 wireless carriers in North America, and is also being distributed in Australia/ New Zealand. A recent test in-field with parents and children showed that 62.5% of participants had increased peace-of mind from using the service, and felt that it reduced their privacy concerns from using location services alone.

Mobile Reach Media Inc. is a Canadian maker and distributor of mobile technologies, focused on personal wellness and safety. EchoAlert is their patent-pending flagship platform product.

If you'd like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Phil Cohen, please call 416/934-5565.

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