RIT students have another way to feel safe. "TigerSafe" connects them with RIT Public Safety officers. It adds to the blue light safety net on campus through voice, text - and GPS tracking and reporting.
RIT MBA student Eric Irish of Trumansburg founded CampusSafe, the company that created the smartphone app. "TigerSafe" helps users inform, report and assist on campus using Public Safety and other important numbers. Just like a blue light, pressing one button connects you to help.
"We actually use wi-fi and GPS locations, so often, the user can't even tell that we've already got them located,” said Irish. “And, once they press and hold it (the virtual blue light button), it will call immediately and then send the information along, so that the dispatcher already knows who they're talking to and already knows where they are."
RIT Public Safety asked Irish and fellow student Zach Potter to develop the app a couple of years ago. With TigerSafe you can get a jumpstart or unlock your car, and get a safety escort without calling Public Safety.
TigerSafe was customized for deaf and hard of hearing students at RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
Irish explained "When they press the blue light, they can start a text conversation instead of having to call. So we actually are much more accessible than the regular blue lights on campus."
The app is free to download. It contains phone numbers and valuable public safety information.
CampusSafe can customize the app for use on other campuses, including setting up specific perimeters where the app will function.
"Not long after that I realized that it could have commercial applications, so I took it to the RIT "Shark Tank" and actually won first place there, and then, started CampusSafe, as more of a commercialized company - that I would bring this to other campuses as well."
Each school pays a yearly licensing fee, which covers updates. Irish says eventually, it could be used at high schools and even ski resorts.
What makes this app special? RIT pride.
"We're using the technology developed by us RIT students, so it's some of the best technology out there...a customized platform that's also incredibly reliable, fast and safe, because we built it on Google Apps and cloud platforms. It's really the best in terms of technology, and we're hungry to keep making it better."