September 8, 2015
The Companion you need to download
You know the situation – walking home at night, whether it’s from the pub or just the short distance from the bus stop – and you know the feeling – a heightened sense of awareness that it’s dark, it’s quiet and you’re walking along on your own. There are several things you might do; phone a friend or family member, power walk, repeatedly look over your shoulder and hold on tight to your bag, but now there’s something more reliable that you can do that will really help you.
That thing? The Companion app. An app that allows your chosen contact to track your journey home as soon as you set off.
So how does it work?
1) When you’ve installed the app, you add your phone number and your chosen contacts then, when you’re commencing a journey home alone, you contact your contacts, who don’t need to have the app downloaded. You can send multiple requests so if your first choice is unavailable, all is not lost. They then receive a text message with a hyperlink which takes them to an interactive map showing where you’re walking, tracking your path using your phone’s GPS signals.
2) Then the clever bit happens. The app senses if you stray from your route or start running, have your headphones unplugged or fall or are pushed and a green circle appears on your phone asking if you’re ok. You have 15 seconds to respond; if you don’t, the app emits loud noises to deter criminals and raise the alarm on your situation. At this point, Companion also gives you the chance to call the police and alerts your chosen contact, giving them the choice to call the police too and divulge your location.
3) The other feature, our favourite, is the ‘I feel nervous’ button which you can click at any point during your journey, allowing the app to track where exactly you feel the most threatened. It’s hoped that this feature will be improved upon, collecting information on the most common areas where people register their fear and working to make them safer.
So now you know what it’s about, download it. You need to visit this page and type in your phone number. You’re then sent a link to download the app and will need to input some details (remember to begin a UK phone with 044). At first it’s not as straight forward as picking up the phone and calling whoever it is you normally call or stopping any of your usual habits, but it’s worth remembering about Companion. It’s super simple and it could save you a stressful journey home, not to mention your life.