Video by Margot Cohen/CNS-TV
COLLEGE PARK Md. – Thanks to a new smart phone application, students and staff at the University of Maryland may be able to stay a little safer on campus.
The free app, called “M-Urgency,” was developed by Dr. Ashok Agrawala and his team of researchers in the computer science department at the College Park campus. The app allows users to transmit both audio and video when making a 911 call, a technology Agrawala says is the first of its kind.
“One of the biggest advantages is that we will be able to get real time video of a situation unfolding,” University of Maryland Police spokesman Capt. Marc. Limansky said. “We’re going to have the ability to get exact information about what the people are wearing, what they were doing and what way they ran.”
In addition to audio and video, M-Urgency also has a GPS locator, which the police say will help in making response time even faster.
Police and developers, who worked closely over the past two years creating the app, agreed the app also serves as a crime deterrent. “As this gets known that on this campus anybody could be carrying this type of smart phone, anybody who has bad intentions will think twice before coming here,” says Agrawala.
M-Urgency is currently only available on the College Park campus, but Agrawala says it’s a technology that could work anywhere. Developers and police are working with the College Park city council to expand the app to include more dangerous areas off-campus, just across Route 1, where many students live.
For now, M-Urgency is only available for the Android, but is coming soon for both iPhone and BlackBerry users.