Tech based Universal Emergency Systems, Solutions and Services.
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Sexual assault on Women and Children and all sorts of sexual vandalism and attacks on weak are happening for ages all over the world. The recent mindless and horrific rape and assault incident in Delhi made India to wake up and strongly protest against such heinous crimes.
Various forms of upheaval across the country had made government to bend down and look for ways and means to tackle this horrendous problem.
One suggestion most heard is about drastically enhancing punishments. Making punishments more rigorous & delivery of justice, certain and quicker, will definitely help to deter good percentage incidence of such crimes.
However, it is doubtful whether that alone will solve the entire problem that has spread like cancer in all levels of society.
India is neither there nor here in fast changing world’s cultural behavior and matters related to Sex. Legitimizing homosexual behavior & same sex marriage are vastly accepted and therefore, had become order of the day in most part of the world.
Whether the change is for good or bad is a question to ponder by everyone.
In the matter concerning sexual assault on women, there are thousands of sexually starved and mentally derailed persons out there across all regions in the country. Identifying and rehabilitating them is the most important need of the day.
Identifying and rehabilitating them is equally important. I have dealt this in detail in my blog ‘Sex, Society and State’ in papaulsblog.wordpress.com for anyone interested to have a look. http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-2d
Along with changing laws on sex crimes and rehabilitating the probable and likely perpetrators, it is equally important to seriously look into other options; especially every possible means towards effective preventive measures open to us. And that is exactly the object of this paper: ‘Information Technology based Emergency Systems and Services’.
The proposal is to embrace contemporary and readily implementable IT based products and services; to assist the Citizens and Law Enforcement authorities, to quickly and efficiently act on such occasions leading to sexual harassment and physical violence so as to take preemptive actions to prevent most of the incidents before those happen.
More importantly, awareness about mere presence of such systems will greatly help to deter miscreants; and with it the object is half realized.
1. Emergency services available in contemporary Telecom systems.
i) Land line systems: It is mandatory to provide emergency call feature in all Public Telecom services. In Land line systems, dialing codes 100, 101, 102, 911 ETC., are available for accessing Police, Fire Station and Ambulance services. In networks abroad there is facility to send an alert call with calling line identity (CLI) and caller’s location to a Centralized control room by dialing digit ‘0’ and leaving the handset off hook.
ii) Mobile phone systems: In Mobile phone systems, there is a feature that enables any one in distress to initiate emergency access by dialing code 112. This facility is available in all mobile phones even without the SIM card in it. Most phones can be programmed to send out emergency access code when a predefined ‘distress’ key is kept pressed for few seconds.
Using Location Based services (LBS) in Mobile phone technology, such emergency calls can be identified by the Mobile system and routed to nearest Control room autonomously based on the current location of the caller.
Such emergency calls will be picked up by any mobile network available in the premises. Using a special purpose phone or Customer Service station in the control room, callers phone number and location will be readily displayed to initiate take immediate action.
iii) Need to have a Universal access code: Instead of different access codes for disparate services, Government and authorities concerned shall consider to have a common universal dialing code for all sorts of emergency access like 911 as being used in US.
2. Street level Emergency Siren units.
Such features of emergency access can be further exploited by installing and making available suitable Mobile SIM enabled pole mounted ‘Siren units’ in every street.
Using LBS feature the emergency call originated from any mobile phone can be routed to the nearest ‘Siren unit’ to activate a loud beeping hooter in it. In parallel, information is automatically sent to the nearest Control Room for alerting the Mobile Police Petrol in the vicinity.
The Siren units shall be fail proof and tamper proof working on local power connections with stand bye battery kept charged with Solar panels.
These pole mounted Siren units will have a Mobile number (MSISDN) and will remain logged into the Mobile network. Failure or tampering of the unit in any way will be automatically sensed by Mobile system and reported to Control Room.
Once activated, the unit can be deactivated only from the control room by accessing it and entering secret code/pass word.
Readiness of these units is to be checked periodically as a routine either at its physical location by mock call or accessing it from control room.
Such facility can be readily implemented in every place; in Urban and rural area where there is Mobile phone facility and also is possible in Land line networks. In rural areas the siren units can be placed in Police stations, Post offices, Panchayat offices etc.
CCTV’s with GSM connectivity. The above mentioned idea can be used for street level CCTV units to make it fail proof and tamper proof, with connectivity to GSM system.
3. Provision of Emergency Siren units in vehicles.
It will be useful to provide an Aadhaar ID and a Siren unit for emergency use by commuters in any form of distress in every vehicle.
To begin with it shall be made mandatory to have such Siren units in all Public transport systems, Buses, Taxis and Railway compartments. The unit shall be tamper-proof and will have an GSM access number, ideally a short code of the MSISDN.
This access code shall be prominently displayed in every public vehicle in such a way that any traveler in distress can see and access it by dialing the number using their mobile phone. Such emergency calls made to every vehicle units will be identified by the Mobile switching system and autonomously forwarded in parallel to the nearest Control Room and Street Siren unit.
In addition every vehicle shall have ‘Emergency marked’ push switches at the back of the seats and also ‘chain pull’ alarm mechanism with it handle at convenient access points in the vehicle by which the siren unit in the Bus can be activated to arm the Bus units to raise an alarm and send an emergency call to nearby Street Unit and Control room.
The unit shall be permanently powered directly by the battery of the vehicle and shall remain logged into the network. It shall have internal standby battery in the absence of power from vehicle battery. Tampering or deactivation of the unit will be detected in Mobile and can be programmed to make an auto call to the control room to inform the authorities about it.
Functional readiness of the units shall be periodically inspected by the authorities. The system should be such that once activated the Siren unit can be switched off only by accessing it from the control room.
Such features and products are readily available and can be implemented with minimum amount of additional applications. The greatest benefit is that awareness about availability of such system in every street and every public transport vehicle will act as deterrent to vandals and hooligans. Therefore, wide publicity shall be given to create awareness in both, the likely victims and likely perpetrators.
4. Special purpose gadgets:
It is possible to provide such facility even with cheap special purpose small gadgets, something like the Pager that we have been using before the arrival of Mobile phones. It can work the same way like a Mobile phone without SIM to initiate an emergency call.
Gadgets can be made in the shape of bangles or wrist watches with a distress button. Keeping this button pressed for few seconds will send message to nearest control room.
Wearing such a gadget by itself will act as deterrent as no one will dare touch a girl or woman wearing such a gadget; and the intended object is achieved.
It is possible to add more features into such systems with the advent of NFC technology etc. Also it is possible to auto lock the doors of the vehicle or disable the vehicle engine after few minuets of the unit’s activation. Hope the Government, Hon. Justice Varma Commission others involved in decision making will definitely consider such technology based options also as ‘Prevention is always better than cure.
Also please see my blog: Exclusive Govt. owned GSM Systems & Networks for Crisis and Disaster management. http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-dh
Abraham Paul. P.
No.69 Kakanad Lane, Pattom P.O. Trivandrum, 695004.
PH: +91 471 2446644 M: +91 9446322644