WOM

Watch Over Me is a personal safety app that aims to protect you by tracking your journey via GPS for a specified time frame. If you fail to check in safely at the end of the specified period, the app automatically sends out a notification to your emergency contacts with your location on a map.

This innovative personal safety app aims to compete with standard panic-button apps, which are inconvenient to pull up and fumble with when one encounters a crisis. TechNode caught up with Watch Over Me co-founder Chin Xin-ci earlier this week after Watch Over Me won the SWELL Innovation Award at GMIC Beijing  to find out more about the origins of the company and its future plans.

At the pitch for the SWELL Innovation Awards, Chin shared with the audience about how her high-profile attack and kidnapping experience in Kuala Lumpur in 2012 (which she thankfully managed to escape from minutes after the encounter occurred) inspired her to co-found Watch Over Me, with the aim of helping to protect people, primarily women, from such crimes and attacks that often catch people off guard.

“China is a market that we are looking to penetrate,” said Chin in an interview with TechNode.

As mentioned earlier, Watch Over Me tracks the user’s journey via GPS for a pre-set amount of time. The free version of Watch Over Me currently allows the emergency contacts listed by the user to receive a notification e-mail if the user has not checked in safely after the specified period is over, whereas the paid version of the app (subscription model of USD $1.99 monthly) sends a text message directly to the emergency contacts’ phones.

The app also has an emergency alarm function, which is triggered when the phone is shaken vigorously, activating the camera to record what is going on in the surroundings. The Watch Over Me team has also input geographical crime statistics, sourced from official and Internet sources, so that users can receive a push notification alerting them to be cautious whenever they enter a high-crime zone in specific cities. The app also crowdsources crime data – users are also able to tag locations and specify the type of crime that occurred in that area.

Chin is passionate about the crime data aspect of Watch Over Me, saying that although crime often drops after authorities publicly flag an area as high-crime, the entire process leading to the announcement is often slow. She hopes that the app would be able to “tell women where is dangerous”, and that crowdsourcing and real-time updating of geographical crime data would be able to help protect more women in high-crime areas.

Currently, most of the users of Watch Over Me hail from countries in Asia, such as Malaysia and Thailand, followed by countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

When asked about the challenges faced in the process of starting Watch Over Me, Chin shares that one of the largest challenges the team faces is the hiring of good, “data-fluent” talent.

“Talent is a limited resource, and that is any start-up’s challenge: Getting talent,” says Chin.

Watch Over Me is available for both iOS and Android.