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App Lets ­niversity Students Send Video Instantly to Police


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Smartphone user with expensive watch

Credit: Courtesy of iStockphoto.com/Zhudifeng

The University of Maryland at College Park has launched a phased rollout of a smartphone app that can provide students, faculty, and staff with a direct and instantaneous line of communication to campus police and dispatch.

The M-Urgency app is designed to broadcast real-time audio and video over the university's wireless network. Dispatchers can then send the real-time data to responders in their cars or in the field. Emergency responders will be able to find the approximate location of the user by triangulating off of the phone's built-in global positioning system and cell towers.

The app also can serve as a virtual police escort service, enabling campus police to monitor the smartphone video feed upon request, such as when a student walks across campus at night.

The Maryland Information and Network Dynamics Lab, directed by professor Ashok Agrawala, developed the app in collaboration with the university's Department of Public Safety. The app is currently limited to the Android mobile operating system, but University of Maryland researchers plan to make it available for iPhones and other platforms, and to add additional features.

From Government Technology
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