A new mobile and Web application developed by University of Michigan students has caught the eye of the school's Department of Public Safety and Security, and officials are brainstorming with the developers to see how data captured by the app could help improve safety measures in the future.
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.
Freed said the app was developed as a way to improve safety on college campuses and in big cities. Concern about sexual assault complaints and other violent crimes also contributed to the development of the app.
Jeffrey McDole, the senior technology officer at U-M's Division of Public Safety and Security, has conducted at least one brainstorming session with Freed and his colleagues to see how the university could best utilize the app and to suggest any potential changes or additions the division would like to see in order for it to be a useful tool for the department.
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.
The app is available for download through the App Store with iTunes.