Communications software developer Beget Holdings has launched a solution that turns most cellphones into a mobile panic button, alerting family and friends to a distress situation and pinpointing the sender’s location within five seconds.

Beget says this first of its kind offering uses cellular location based systems technology and the infrastructure of major cellular network operators to send a distress signal to pre-selected respondents.

"At present the SMSOS system operates with any cellphone with speed dialling and caller-ID capabilities on the MTN and Vodacom networks," says Andre Potgieter, Beget MD. "Exactmobile is the service provider for the SMSOS system and will provide 24-hour support through their call centre, as well as contributing knowledge and experience in the field of cellular technology.’

Lize Gerber, SMSOS head, says crime is part of day-to-day living and saw the birth of SMSOS technology, which can be used in any panic situation such as car accidents and medical emergencies. "SMSOS is ideal for any situation in which you can use only one finger."

Potgieter says by pressing the SMSOS speed dial or "panic button" on a cellphone, a priority SMS is relayed to each of the preset respondents.

"This SMS includes personal and contact information, as well as the location of the person in distress using GSM coordinates. Multi-media messaging enabled phones will also receive a location map and shortly, Vodacom subscribers will also have the benefit of mobile tracking because of the kind of location server used by that network."

The system’s ability to locate a cellphone depends on the cell coverage of the network provider, explains Potgieter. "The greater the density of the network’s masts, the greater the accuracy of the location."

Gerber says the main subscriber can register up to nine dependents and six respondents as part of the roughly R250 ­ R300 per year subscription package, and can easily maintain personal information through the Internet.

"The SMOS system is automatic and can handle 100 calls a second, thereby eliminating the problems of human error and slow response," says Potgieter. "The system also includes a logging facility and can generate complete audit trail reports on every call."

Beget has reached an agreement with a French company for European distribution and a company in Australia for distribution there. "Locally, the SMSOS is to be made available through a network of distributors to be appointed in the coming months, providing an excellent marketing and income opportunity for distributors," concludes Potgieter.

IT Web