The Indian government is all set to roll out a panic alert facility for mobile phones next year. Starting March 2016, users will be able to send an immediate alert to police and their loved ones by long pressing ‘9’ on their phone. The functionality has been in the works for quite a while, and is especially targeted at women in distress.
In upcoming handsets, apart from dialing 9, the volume buttons, when pressed together, will act as a panic trigger to alert nearby police or family and friends. The alert button will provide information on the location of the person in distress.
The government was earlier planning to roll out a smartphone app with the same functionality. However, since a majority of people in rural areas do not use smartphones, the decision was dismissed. Mobile manufacturers have been asked to upgrade their handsets to support the feature. Existing smartphone users will be able to access the feature via a software update, while feature phone users will need to go to their respective brand’s retail outlets to get it enabled.