A Shrewsbury company is set to launch a new mobile phone app – SafeStep – which is designed for use by people travelling alone.
Although its development began prior to the first lockdown, recent stories of missing people not being found after setting out on a journey, as well as the safety of those who regularly travel alone such as care workers, have highlighted the potential of the app.
Quick to set up and activate it is simple to use, non-invasive and is not a tracker. Users can add contacts, create places and start a journey. If the person does not make it to the destination in the allotted time, the chosen next of kin or friend, receives a text notification and a link to the users live location.
A research study of students and their parents from University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS), part of the University of Chester, resulted in overwhelming support for SafeStep. Of students questioned during two UCS events, more than 90 percent said that they liked SafeStep and would download and use the app. Out of a sample of parents of students introduced to the app, 86 percent said student welfare was a consideration when helping with their child’s university or college choice, and agreed that the app was a key addition among the wide range of solutions UCS had put in place to support student welfare.
Vince Dovey, managing director of Ska Train who have designed the app said: “Although we started work on this app prior to the first lockdown, since then there seems to have been a frightening regularity of people who have been attacked when travelling alone. For less than the price of a cup of coffee per month, we feel that this app may provide peace of mind without the intrusion of a tracking device.”
Based at the UCS campus, the Digital Solutions project, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, works with local businesses to deliver innovative tech solutions.
Nikki Ayton, business development manager at Digital Solutions, said: “When Vince brought the idea of SafeStep to us, we immediately saw it as an intriguing and exciting project. Assisting in its roll out and ensuring that the app delivered a vital service, we have been delighted with the feedback received from our students, their parents and the welfare support team, who were all involved in its testing. David Clarke, the student support coordinator has seen this as a key addition in helping us to place student welfare at the heart of the UCS experience.”
SafeStep will be available to download from July 4th at a cost of £2 per month from www.safestep-app.co.uk/download or via iOS and Android/Play stores.
Not only is Ska Train aiming for universities and colleges to integrate the app as part of their welfare package to students, but it is also offering other organisations such as councils and care providers the option of purchasing a bulk licence to rollout SafeStep as a free app for their employees.