Vox debuts emergency panic button app

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The Vox 911 app gives users access to countrywide emergency services.
The Vox 911 app gives users access to countrywide emergency services.

Integrated ICT and infrastructure provider Vox has introduced a mobile app-based panic button that allows users to request roadside assistance or emergency services.

The new app, Vox 911, allows users to set up an emergency button on their phone and contact the Vox 911 call centre during an emergency at a click of a button. Medical services or roadside assistance are dispatched upon receipt of the panic signal.

In addition, the app allows users to send an emergency SMS to a select contact list, be it family, friends or neighbours.

"During an emergency, a Vox 911 user presses a panic button on their cellphone, which contacts the Vox 911 call centre. An operator then calls the user back, within 30 seconds on average, to find out what the emergency is," says Rudi Potgieter, senior product manager at Vox.

"If unable to get through to the user, the call centre uses caller ID and location tracking to identify who the member is, where they are, and ensures there is an emergency response."

Vox has a partnership with a national response network, ensuring users are able to get countrywide coverage; whether medical, roadside assistance or physical security.

The app has three panic buttons that can be used to ensure the right emergency service is dispatched during incidents where verbal communication is not possible, adds Potgieter.

"Users have a roadside assistance button, medical emergency button and another one for an armed response service. In the event that a button is pressed but no contact can be made with the user, the relevant service will be dispatched."

The user is required to pay for the service provided, such as hospital bills; however, Vox 911 pays for the dispatching of the service.

While the app is free to download on iOS and Android stores, the subscription costs R99.87 per month on a 24-month contract, or R109.95 per month, on a month-to-month basis.

"You need just one subscription for a family of four. There is no call-out fee for using any of the services, though there is a fair usage policy to prevent abuse," Potgieter continues.

Other emergency apps in the local market include safety and security app, Namola, developed by non-profit organisation Happimo; the Integrated Emergency Response app developed by Affinity Enterprises; and the HearMe Panic Button targeted at helping potential victims of domestic abuse.

"While there are some similar services in the market, they are not as comprehensive as Vox 911. They either only operate in select major cities, do not connect to an emergency control centre, or do not integrate with private security, roadside assistance, or emergency services," notes Potgieter.

The panic button is an addition to Vox's Guardian Eye stable of products, which focuses on using technology to improve and simplify security for home and business users.

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