BBMP plans a wearable band to keep Bengaluru’s women safe

A comprehensive proposal to this effect has been sent to the Union government, and the BBMP has sought Rs100 crore under the Nirbhaya Fund.

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During emergencies, users panic and are usually not in a position to access their mobile phone. This is where the band comes in handy. (Representative Photo)
ET Spotlight
By Manoj Sharma

In a technology-backed move aimed at making women safer outdoors within the city, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has proposed an integrated project called ‘Suraksha Mitra’ and sought Nirbhaya Fund from the Centre to implement it. The project involves, among other things, a wearable, motion-sensitive band capable of sending SOS when the wearer is under attack. More importantly, the Palike wants to integrate the application with the police control room in a way that when an alarm is raised, not only are ‘guardians’ alerted, but voice clips and snapshots recorded from the device are sent to the police’s monitoring cell for immediate action.

A comprehensive proposal to this effect has been sent to the Union government, and the BBMP has sought Rs100 crore under the Nirbhaya Fund to bring this idea to fruition. The civic body wants to give away about 10 lakh wearable bands.

BBMP Chief N Manjunatha Prasad told Mirror that the blueprint of the initiative prepared by a group of NGOs in association with the BBMP. “We have sent the proposal to the union government for the grant of about Rs100 crore under Nirbhaya Fund. We have also identified 7,500 junctions (‘dark spots’) in the city lights and CCTV cameras have to be installed in order to allow smooth functioning of this initiative,” he said.

Prasad said that in addition to the panic button, the band would also have a motion sensor that can trigger an SOS alert when it detects a defensive arm movement. As the project is still in its initial stages, the nuances are yet to be finalised.

“It will immediately record the audio around the scene and take pictures on both sides. Messages will be sent to predefined numbers of guardians, alerting them of the emergency along with the location of the woman. Simultaneously, it will send pictures, audio clips and location to the monitoring cell so that the police can act immediately,” he said.

The government will bear 50 per cent of the cost of the band, he said.

According to presentation submitted by the BBMP to Union Government, each band would cost about Rs400-500. It has proposed to distribute about 10 lakh wearable bands.

The Suraksha Mitra project proposes a 10-point module for the overall safety of women. Here they are, as per the presentation submitted by the BBMP.

This module is aimed at providing information on the safety index of an area or point of interest, preemptively before approaching the area. Apart from the informative capabilities, the module enables the user to capture information on various parameters like availability of CCTVs, Lighting, eyes on street and proximity of security agencies, etc., which enable the central monitoring agency to arrive at a safety score for the area. This module will serve as data feeder to enable fellow users to check the safety score before approaching the area.

This data captured from this module will also aid monitoring agencies to be informed about on ground status of civic amenities such as CCTVs, lighting and enable agencies concerned to take necessary action to fix as well as improve the safety score.

The ‘Raksha Band’
During emergencies, users panic and are usually not in a position to access their mobile phone. This is where the band comes in handy. Although such solutions are available in the market, they are often expensive. The Raksha Band would be an easy and cost-effective way of accessing emergency solution with seamless integration with smartphones.

Web Portal
This module is a unique offering of the RB solution as it enables the central monitoring authority to bulk monitor as well as respond to multiple emergency situations. This is unlike other apps which are limited only up to alerting the agency/guardians. The web module is also a gateway for governing agencies to analyse, track and respond to civic amenity needs reported via the crowd-sourcing data.

Integration with TSPs
The platform will have network integration modules that support all the protocols used for back-end integration with major telecom operators (at least top 5 as per TRAI’s subscriber numbers) in and across India for SMS and voice channels.

Security, Authentication
Authentication is available at two levels. a) User Level: The user registration module will be an app-based SMS OTP Authentication b) Monitoring Agency Level: Aimed at servicing the individuations performing the duties of monitoring the users of the app, here security will be database-driven with monitoring portal users authentication established with a valid username/password credentials.

A central monitoring agency will have the ability to see, analyse captured data on reported emergencies.

The data captured through crowd-sourced module on civic amenities such as availability of lighting and CCTVs can be spatially visualised and reported to the concerned agencies.

The centralised portal will also provide a dashboard serving as an overview of the continuous feed of data from the ground captured via the Suraksha Mitra App.

Customer Support
The Central Monitoring Agency is required to provide Help Desk module for customer support function, Application Management Module for application management and SLA monitoring. The Help Desk module shall be used by the Central Monitoring Agency to manage the customer ticketing and life cycle.

The Central Monitoring Agency should provide an integrated Customer care support interface where the App users and Guardians have an easy way to be informed about the status of the emergency situation faced by their complainant. It should enable better coordination and support to the user.
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