University of Michigan students have created a new mobile and Web app to keep students safe.
Danny Freed, a senior business student at U-M, is one of five students who launched the app Companion -- a peer-to-peer safety monitoring service that lets people track your GPS location as you walk from place to place. "You can use the app with anyone in your contact book and they don't have to have the app. You punch in the address or place you're headed and notify one or several friends that you're headed to that place," Freed said.
"If you go off route too much or if you don't make it to your destination within the expected time, then it sends an alert to whoever you've checked off. The alerts will say something like 'He's off route, please check in with him,' and if you don't have the app there's a live link to the Web version so it sends the message through an SMS push notification. If everything does go well and you get to your destination, it'll automatically send a notification to the other person saying 'He arrived safely.'"
Jeffrey McDole, the senior technology officer at U-M's Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS), has met with Freed and colleagues to see how the university could best utilize the app.
The app recently won $25,000 in U-M's Michigan Business Challenge, an 80-team competition that puts business plans in front of investors for them to decide upon the best plans.
Judges concluded that Companion was the Best Overall Business, and the group also won $2,500 each for best undergraduate team and best marketing.
Freed said the money from the competition would help them work on some of the issues he felt he needed to address after meeting with DPSS.
The app is available for download through the App Store with iTunes.