Apps act as bodyguards

Meghin Moore, special to

WASHINGTON – Smartphones can be used for everything in today’s society, and with several apps, smartphones can even act as mobile bodyguards or a mobile protection force.

MyForce, SecuraFone, and bSafe are all apps designed to give people mobile protection and peace of mind on their iPhones, Blackberrys or Android-based phones.

All of the apps work by arming a user’s phone in case something should happen. MyForce can record audio from a user’s phone, where operators listen to audio from either a user’s phone or a user’s loved one’s phone. A “safe word,” determined when a user registers, can be said to the operator to make sure that the user is OK. If the user says the wrong “safe word,” help will be on the way.

Meanwhile, bSafe allows users to set up a “safety net” of people that help is needed, all by the touch of the big, red SOS button. All of the “Guardians,” determined by the user, will receive a text message with a link to a map with the user’s GPS position, while one “Guardian” gets a direct phone call.

SecuraFone, powered by SecuraTrac, is the only free app for a smartphone that provides GPS tracking and monitoring for older adults and teenagers behind the wheel. On an Android-based phone, the screen will lock and all texting, emailing and web browsing while driving will be prohibited.

StreetSafe offers a live “Safety Responder” who will stay on the line with a user until he reaches his destination, using a feature called “Walk With Me.” It also features a silent alarm that will alert authorities with a user’s personal profile and GPS location. The app also features unlimited access 24/7.

Protection doesn’t come free for many of the apps. MyForce has a $12 monthly subscription plan available, as well as an annual plan for around $120. Consumers can purchase the app for themselves and their loved ones. StreetSafe offers a $20 monthly plan, $45 quarterly plan or a $150 yearly plan. There is a free plan for bSafe, with limited features. The service costs around $2 a month or $15 a year.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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