This article was first published in the June edition of Media Pulse – Omnicom Media Group’s monthly highlights on relevant media insights, intelligence and trends. www.omnicommediagroupmediapulse.com
Technology has led us to believe that everything is within our grasp—but the capability to retrieve anything, from a restaurant review to your friend’s GPS location, through a portable computer (aka your smartphone) has led consumers to adapt a false sense of freedom.
That freedom nearly shattered the world of Jacqueline Ros. After her sister was attacked twice before the age of 17, Ros decided to do something about it and created Revolar—a notification device that sends an immediate alert to emergency contacts, plus a GPS location, with just the push of a button. The portable, quarter-size device clips onto any piece of clothing or keychain and can be activated by the Revolar app—promising users to “live smart, live more, and fear less.” Revolar’s Kickstarter campaign was fully funded in May and is expected to roll out in April 2016.
Revolar wasn’t the first personal safety device. In 2000, a team in the UK developed Skyguard – a full-service company with a suite of products tailored to the vulnerable or lone worker. The devices, which include a smartphone application and MySOS – another portable device with GPS functionality – are popular amongst some of UK’s most influential organizations, including more than half the police force.
These services put a spotlight on one underlying issue of today – despite our dependence on the latest technology, lives still remain at risk; lives of all shapes and sizes. Take Found, a new Pedigree app that moves “just as fast as your lost dog.” The app sends out a message to those in the area online through Google’s ad network, and ideally connects lost pets with their beloved owners.
While the statistics for violence remains staggering—a murder happens every 60 seconds according a World Health Organization study published in 2000 (with research three years in the making)—technology is allowing us to track and protect the whereabouts of oneself and loved ones. By taking measures like adding Revolar to your shirt pocket, or snapping a First Sign Hair Clip into your locks, the solution seems relatively easy. It’s up to marketers to convince the general public that prevention is key.
Many safety prevention advocates have become outspoken only after personal experiences of attack or loss. Marketers need to adapt an initiative for change to occur before the worst happens. While so many great inventions spur from horrible situations—like Ros’ sisterly love or the university safety app LiveSafe following a shooting massacre in Virginia—the end-goal for marketing teams should be to actually use these apps, adapt them, and utilize them as a preventative measure. After all, if you’ve got Fido listed on Found but don’t use the app when he’s gone, it’s your loss.
It only took Walter Huber to download PulsePoint, a 911 connected mobile app, to alert him that a neighbor nearby was in need of CPR. The alert, received just as Huber was about to sit down for dinner, ended up saving someone’s life. This interaction between a mobile phone impacted many—but it was the work of the marketing team and the initiative to utilize the app that truly saved a life.
It only takes a little to go far. How will you make the impact?