Guardly Safe Campus Program infrastructure developed
within OCAD U's own mobile incubator, MEIC
(Toronto—February 22, 2012) OCAD University has teamed up with mobile start-up Guardly to launch a revolutionary new service aimed to improve the safety of students, faculty and staff both on and off campus.
The Guardly Safe Campus Program transforms personal smartphones into code blue emergency phones, the type of emergency consoles typically found installed on campuses across the country. Instead of needing to find one of these devices to signal distress, students can now activate a personal safety network, including campus security, simply by activating the Guardly application on their personal phones.
During an active emergency incident on campus, Guardly uses a combination of GPS, WiFi and cell tower triangulation to track location and provides this information to a campus security dispatcher. For privacy purposes, location tracking is only enabled once a student triggers an alert. A caller's extended safety network can provide input to campus security to aid in response efforts.
Guardly Safe Campus also makes it easier for those with physical disabilities or sensory impairments to reach help. Since Guardly Safe Campus is built upon the Guardly infrastructure, if students or staff members have an emergency off-campus, the Guardly mobile application can still be used to notify up to 15 emergency contacts as well as 9-1-1 services, further extending the value of the service to OCAD U community members.
"Guardly's Safe Campus Program has been designed in tandem with campus security administrators and unlocks the capabilities for security managers to immediately identify callers, track location in real-time and communicate with emergency callers by voice or instant messaging," said Josh Sookman, CEO, Guardly Corp.
The subscription-based Guardly mobile personal safety system has been available to individuals since April 2011. A graduate of OCAD U's Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC) incubator program, Guardly developed its core infrastructure and its first mobile application for iPhone during its six month residency. It was also during this key period that Guardly, through discussions with key personnel at OCAD U's campus security and security teams at other universities, learned about how the technology could help higher educational institutions keep campuses safe. Guardly is currently available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone 7 devices.
"The Guardly Safe Campus Program will undoubtedly revolutionize security services in higher education environments," said OCAD University President, Dr. Sara Diamond. "Guardly is a powerful communications tool for campus security teams, giving them the critical information they need to effectively respond to emergency incidents ever more quickly. We're even more proud that the infrastructure for the service was developed within OCAD U's mobile incubator at the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre. This is one of many research commercialization successes coming through OCAD U's research and innovation initiatives."
OCAD U is currently undergoing a rigorous testing period with a plan to roll out the app to the entire OCAD U community by September.
OCAD University (OCAD U): 135 Years of Imagination
OCAD University (www.ocadu.ca) is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The university, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.
Guardly (https://www.guardly.com/) is a platform for emergency communication that facilitates rapid social, mobile and location-aware responses to calls for assistance. Smartphone users who find themselves in an emergency situation can alert, connect and collaborate with local authorities, campus security as well as their own safety groups in a single tap. Guardly is based in Toronto and raised venture funding from Golden Venture Partners, Extreme Venture Partners and angel investors. Guardly is committed to dramatically decreasing the amount of time it takes responders to arrive at an emergency.
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For more information contact:
Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416-977-6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)