Most of us believe that simply because we live in a highly civilized country, where most people are kind and friendly, we are safe. And it’s true for the most part. According to the Global Peace Index (GPI), Denmark is the 5th safest country in the world. However, as we mentioned in the beginning, the world is not black and white, it is full of color.
In other words, even in places as peaceful as Denmark, there is danger. In 2017 alone, there have been registered more than 650 sexual offenses against victims of all ages. There have been 1.866 cases of aggravated assault, and more than 400 cases of offense against personal liberty. Over 27.670 cases of violent crimes were reported as well as over 46.890 cases of theft from person.
Compared to other countries in the world, these numbers are minuscule. But not to the victims of these horrific cases. So one must ask, what if these victims had a hero to protect them? A passer-by that would have had the chance to act instead of staying passive. How different would the world be if voices would be heard, instead of dissolving into darkness?
We live in a world that gives us the opportunity to be whoever we want. It is a world where we can choose to be heroes, or villains, or simple passers-by.
You can choose to be a hero and save someone when they need it. It can be as simple as giving change to a starving beggar. Simply by giving that person 25kr for some food, you become a hero in their eyes.
You can also choose the dark side, and through a small gesture of evilness become a villain in someone’s eyes. Or just as bad, you decide to remain a passer-by. See someone in need of assistance and choose to walk away. Simply do nothing.
With No Voice, There Can Be No Heroes
On the other hand, what if you are the one in need of help? Will you dare ask? The sad truth is some of us may not even call for help. We have all been in situations where we have questioned ourselves and asked, are we really in danger, or is it just our imagination? Think about that time you were walking home at night, and you could feel in the back of your mind that someone was following you. No one was there, but for some reason, you felt watched. You would want to call for someone, if only for the comfort of a friendly voice, right? You could call the police and have an overworked dispatcher try to calm you down. Best case scenario, it works. But then you end up feeling silly and guilty for wasting their already limited time.
In a different scenario, let’s say you got in a bike accident. You fell and scraped your knee, but there isn’t really a need for an ambulance, is there? Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone around to come and help?
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Introducing Beam a Buddy
These are the questions Jesper Pedersen asked himself when starting Beam a Buddy. His vision is to help reduce these numbers with the help of a “buddy” system. The concept allows people to connect and help each other in case of emergencies.
Jesper wanted to break the biased barriers keeping people from asking for help. He understood that every accident or moment of fear is important. No one should feel unsafe. His belief is that if asking for help from authorities is not an option, asking for help from our peers should be. Therefore, Jesper decided to build a network of validated people willing to do the right thing when needed. Whether it is asking for or offering support, the community will be there so no one feels alone and frightened. In other words, this solution gives passer-bys strength to be heroes, and a voice to potential victims.
Ideas like Jesper’s always seem simpler at first glance. On paper, all that he needed was a system or a platform where people would connect and act as volunteer guardians. Users could connect with people and look after one another wherever they are. But there are many aspects that need to be taken under consideration before building a solution:
- Proximity – helpers need to be close by so they can give assistance as fast as possible;
- Availability – helpers need to be able to leave work/school, in order to give assistance;
- Visibility – the victim’s location needs to be easy to find;
- Confirmation for victims – the victim needs to know their message had been received;
- Confirmation for helpers – they need to know that someone reached the victim and that the victim is now safe.
These are just some of the concerns this solution has to deal with. However, another important matter was the simplicity of the user journey. Basically, there are other safety solutions online and offline. However, they usually focus on specific target groups, such as young women, children or elderly. Unlike these, Jesper wanted to include everyone on one single platform. So, instead of focusing on one single target group, he focused on everyone.
Considering that each of us have different experiences with technology, this solution needed to be simple enough but effective. Luckily, Jesper chose the best solution to realize his dream, and he reached out to the Wiredelta® team for help. So, without any further ado, we present Beam a Buddy.
Beam a Buddy is a delicate and particular idea because when a person is in danger, they need help immediately! So, we needed a fast and efficient solution. As a result, we built a simple to use, quick and dependable mobile application using the most reliable technology today.
To be more precise, our developers used Angular 4 for front end and NodeJS for backend. But, since we are talking about a mobile application, everything needs to be tied together. So we used Ionic to transform the application into a hybrid mobile application.
The Journey Starts With The User
The signup process is simple, fast, and more importantly, secure. The app uses NemID CPR verification to confirm a new user’s identity, so it can not be fed false information. However, Beam A Buddy is completely GDPR compliant, and the user has total control over what personal information is saved in the PostgreSQL database. This means that once verified, your CPR is deleted from the database. The rest of your information is saved on your profile and can be edited or deleted at any time.
We feel the safest when we are surrounded by our friends and family. Therefore, Beam a Buddy taps into your “Contacts”, allowing you to quickly connect with your loved ones. If a user wants to see their connections or make new ones, all they have to do is access the “Buddies” from the side menu, and voila!
Here, they have a complete overview of sent and approved invitations, where they can also cancel invitations sent by mistake.
Note that only your contacts can be your buddies. This means that you won’t have annoying “friend requests” from sketchy strangers. Your connections are only your close circle.
Beam a Buddy
Calling for help, also referred to as “Beam a Buddy”, is the main functionality of the app and is available to any user after validation. In fact, it’s the first screen they see when starting the app. All a user has to do is tap on the screen and the app sends a notification to all the buddies in that person’s list. However, the app allows 5 seconds before it sends the notification, in case the user activated it by mistake, or they think it was a false alarm.
Once the notification is sent, the victim is then redirected to a map where they can either wait for their buddies to reply or do one of the following actions:
1. I Am Safe – The danger has been averted and the victim is safe;
If the victim is safe, they need to tap the “I am Safe” button. This, however, needs to be confirmed by at least one other person involved, so if 3 buddies confirmed they are coming to the victim’s aid, at least one of them needs to concur.
2. Take photos – The user can take photos of the situation;
In order to help authorities, the victim has the option to take pictures of their surroundings and what they think may be important. They take pictures that are then saved in their own phone, and in an AWS server. The latter server is only available to authorities to use in their investigation.
3. Call for Nearby People – Ask for help from people around you.
There may be a time where your buddies are not close enough to reach you in time, or they are simply unavailable. In this case, the user can ask for help from people around. If they click on the “Call for Nearby People” button, the map reveals every Beam a Buddy user in the close vicinity. At this time, the closest 10 users receive a notification that you are in danger, so they can come help.
A Buddy Has Been Beamed
When helpers receive the notification, they are also redirected to a map where they can see the location and personal details of the victim. Then, they have the option to accept or decline the request. If they are close by, they can tap “I am coming” and let the victim know they’re on their way.
Once there, they need to tap “I have arrived” to confirm that they have reached the victim and are now giving their assistance. Just like the victim, they can also take pictures to help authorities.
Follow Me Home
The second most important feature of the app is the “Follow Me Home” function. This function is designed for people that just want to feel safe. Be it a child walking home, a young adult on a night out or an elderly person on a stroll, you shall never walk alone.
Because of the intimate nature of this function, this one is reserved only for buddies. Strangers are not able to see you on the map or your request. The invitation can be sent to one buddy, and they follow the user until the user taps “I’m home”.
The final functionality of the app is the report tool. This tool has 2 very important purposes, report bugs in the app and report abusive users.
Following their own doctrine, Beam a Buddy relies on the network to grow and improve. This means that every time a user sees an error within the app, they get to report it.
Also, a trustworthy, reliable community means that abusive users will not be tolerated. If a user asks for help but they are not actually in danger, they will be investigated. If it is proven that the user is an abusive one, their account may be blocked permanently.
Beam a Buddy is an app for and about the safety of the community. Its purpose is to connect people that care for each other. Users get a platform where they can watch over their loved ones, and in turn, help reduce the risk of someone getting hurt, robbed or worse. It is projects like this one that makes us proud and drives us to be better as a company and as humans.
Together with Wiredelta, you can bring your revolutionizing idea to life too. Whether it is an app that keeps others safe, or a sustainable solution for a better tomorrow, we have you covered!
For more inspiration, take a look at the cases we worked with, or browse around on our site for all the latest tech trends. You’ll find news on topics like AI, marketing, web and mobile, blockchain and everything in between!