Monday 3 December 2012

Airtel launches 24x7 emergency alert service

The new Airtel service allows its customers to alert 10 closest family and friends with just one call. The service is aimed at providing help during natural calamity.

Bharti Airtel has launched a 24x7 'Emergency Alert Service' for its customers in India. This service allows users to send an alert with their geographic location to their closest 10 loved ones simultaneously with just a call.

Subscribers can also send a 'SAFE' SMS indication to a pre-defined group of 10 family members and friends and keep them informed of their well-being.

People who wish to use this service can activate the service by dialing 55100 and follow menu options. The charges are Rs 30 for 30 days. Up to 10 members for the group can be added by messaging START {MobileNumber1}, {MobileNumber2}, {MobileNumber3} etc.

The service allows you to send SAFE or HELP, depending on your situation, to 55100 or simply dial 55100 and the numbers you have chosen will receive an SMS with your location details.

Though sounds good, but in practical situation, many would not even remember the number (55100) when they actually face a dire situation. Remembering such an emergency number now-a-days is also very difficult as there are a number of other helplines such as 100 for police, 101 for fire emergencies etc.

Also, like in insurance, you have to pay for this day after day for protection on an unknown fateful day - a proposition that many hate to loathe. It would have been much more attractive had Airtel made it a lifelong service with one time payment.

Also, this kind of initiative needs at least an industry wide alliance of both operators and handset vendors. Such a service should not only be made uniform across the operators but also handsets should be launched with some kind of emergency button.

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