Thursday, December 02, 2021

Changing the way we respond

WHAT if help can come in just one tap of your phone, and at no cost?

The Guardian, a dispatch and civilian reporting system developed by software firm SugboTek Inc., aims to deliver faster response time in emergency cases like fire, medical help, and crime.

This “disruptive” emergency disaster response app may be ready for download and use by Cebuanos starting January 2018, in time for the Sinulog festival.

Unlike 911 and other emergency hotline numbers available today, SugboTek president and chief executive officer Cloyd B. Dedicatoria said Guardian users will only have to report emergency cases with a tap of the Guardian app on their Internet-enabled mobile phones. In response, Guardian will call back the user and through GPS can immediately locate the person who sought help.

When one seeks help through 911 and other hotline numbers, one has to have sufficient mobile load to call these hotlines and be asked for additional information to determine the situation and location of the emergency. This usually takes a longer period to response to emergencies.

“When you call 911, the call will go to Manila then the dispatcher will contact the Cebu City Command Center and it will identify your location. It’s a long process and that can save lives already,” said Dedicatoria.

“This can complement 911 because we can connect this to 911. But 911 is very telco-dependent. The government is spending so much for this service,” added the lead developer.

Guardian, meanwhile, hastens this process by having multiple command centers with only the use of a computer and a telephone system.

When an emergency takes place in Barangay Apas in Cebu City, it will be the Apas command center that will respond to it using its nearest and available emergency responders, and assets like fire truck in the case of fire, and ambulance in cases of medical help.

Barangay Apas is one of the four pilot areas for Guardian, which will be deployed within the month, together with Barangay Tisa, Sto. Niño, and Pardo.

“Guardian will come for free to LGUs. Their commitment is that they have to invest in PCs (personal commuters) and a telephone system to make this sustainable,” Dedicatoria said.

SugboTek is also slated to meet with the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board (MCDB) and the Mandaue City Government to discuss the emergency response app.

SugboTek conceptualized the Guardian in 2014. It started with friend-finder app Pinpoint, until this was enhanced with emergency and security features.
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