For women in distress, help will soon come at the press of her cell phone button.
In the next six months, all smart phones would come equipped with a panic/SOS button that when pressed for a pre-defined time would trigger a call to some pre-determined number (of a family member, friend, police helpline) chosen and fed in the phone by the user.
The family can then alert the police for help who would be able to track the location of the women through GPS chip installed in the smart phone.
This was decided at a meeting on Monday which was chaired by telecom secretary Rakesh Garg and attended by senior officials from women and child development ministry and representatives from the telecom industry. The telecom industry has accepted the government’s solution to improve the security environ for women.
While in smart phones, the volume key (both “+” and “—“) when pressed together for a pre-defined time (five to seven seconds) would trigger an emergency call, in feature phones – that do not have side keys – the numerical “5” key or the “9” key would be configured to invoke the emergency call.
In all new smart phones, the manufacturers will have to put a small application in the original software for enabling the SOS call. Existing smart phone handsets will have to be re-configured at the operator level to enable the SOS key.
“The WCD ministry, department of telecommunications and the department of electronics and information technology have been working closely with the industry to come out with a solution where a SOS key can be provided on mobile phone. After three marathon sessions, the government has come out with a solution which is acceptable to the industry.,” Pankaj Mohindroo, national president, ICA who was present in Monday’s meeting told HT.