Blackberry Software Update Gives Users Improved Access to Skyguard’s Gold Standard Response Service
Skyguard has introduced a software update that provides existing BlackBerry® smartphone users with greater functionality and an improved means of connecting to its industry-leading personal safety response service. The software update effectively transforms BlackBerry GPS-enabled smartphones into personal safety devices (PSDs), complete with all the features found on dedicated devices. This reduces still further the cost of providing effective protection for at-risk individuals and eliminates the inconvenience of having to carry additional equipment.
In exactly the same way as dedicated single-function PSD hardware, BlackBerry smartphones running the new software provide full access to Skyguard’s Gold Standard incident management services, which can be tailored to meet the exact needs of individual users.
When the software has been installed on a BlackBerry smartphone, users initiate an alarm by simply pressing a button. The smartphone vibrates to confirm that the alarm has been sent, and vibrates again when the connection is made to Skyguard’s incident management centre (IMC). The alarm message sent by the BlackBerry smartphone includes both the user’s identity and their current location.
The software has been designed to offer BlackBerry users a full range of Skyguard benefits, including delayed alarm functionality where the user enters a preset delay period before going into a potentially dangerous situation. If the function is not cancelled before the delay period has expired, an alarm signal is automatically sent to the IMC.
A key feature of the new software, which is easy to download and install, is that users can send an alarm signal to Skyguard with a single key press even if their BlackBerry’s keypad is locked. There is no need to enter the unlock code, which would be difficult if not impossible in most emergency situations.
In addition, the loudspeaker and the microphone in the phone are enabled when an alarm is sent, allowing the operator at the Skyguard IMC to listen to and record the incident and, when it is appropriate and safe to do so, to respond verbally to the person who raised the alarm.
Since the effectiveness of any PSD is determined by the quality of the service that is relied upon when it is activated, Skyguard has invested heavily in this aspect of its operations and offers a comprehensive, industry-leading end-to-end service that can readily be tailored to suit specific user requirements.
For example, when an alert is received, the operator at the Skyguard IMC is automatically provided with information about the identity of the user and their location. Users can easily supply Skyguard with additional information that will be displayed to the operator via a web interface, to include details such as whether they have a medical condition and who they would like to be contacted in the event of an emergency.
The combination of the company’s own highly trained controllers and its new purpose-built Category II IMC in Epsom – which has direct access to the police via dedicated phone lines that bypass the normal 999 service. The IMC has recently been certified to the NSI Gold Approval for Lone Worker monitoring standard, making Skyguard the first company to offer an end-to-end service that includes all elements of BS 8484:2009, the new and demanding Code of Practice for the Provision of Lone Worker Device Services.
David Ince, Chief Executive of Skyguard commented: “This software update provides BlackBerry users with a fully-featured route into our service, so making reliable, dedicated protection more easily available to business users – and at lower cost. It’s a a fine example of our continued work to make our proven personal safety service available to all through a wide range of devices and platforms.”
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