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SOS SERVICES: ?

Chicago - September 6, 2015

Imagine being stuck in a moving car’s trunk, not being able to see where you are, and not knowing whether you can contact somebody without others hearing your voice? We all have seen these situations on TV and in movies and have prayed this does not happen to us. And hopefully it will not. But it is very reassuring to know that if we are ever caught in a situation where we have our phone with us and we need to alert someone of our location, we are able to do so, with the press of a button.


Smartphones are proliferating all age groups – children, adults, seniors. New use cases are being found where smartphone apps can add value. Personal safety is one of them. One can also extend the use case to natural disasters – earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes.

Many smartphone apps claim to provide “SOS” or “Alert” functionality – app developers call them by different names. Essentially they all attempt to provide you a way to reach friends and family when you are in danger. And also provide your location coordinates, so you can be reached.

What constitutes a good SOS app?

Reliability

Since the user will most likely use the functionality only when they are in trouble, it is imperative that it work that one time – with 100% reliability. It should not be the case that the app has not been updated for the past two years, and unfortunately is not compatible with the new version of the OS on the user’s smartphone. Or a myriad of such reasons. The user will also not do a test run of the SOS functionality on a routine basis. Therefore it falls on the app developers to make the SOS functionality foolproof.

Ease of use

 In an emergency, the user will not have a lot of time at their disposal. A few seconds maybe? A minute at the most. SOS functionality should not require pressing multiple buttons, passcodes, or confirmations like “Do you really want to send this SOS”? At the same time, it should not get triggered by mistake.

Method of delivery

Should an SOS message me sent via Email? Or WhatsApp? Or posted on Facebook? What’s the quickest means to get your friend’s attention when you are in trouble? An SMS is universal and can be delivered to all kinds of phones – even non-smartphones. But it also depends on your friend circle who you are trying to reach. It could be that they are most responsive to WhatsApp.

There are many other considerations – what should be the frequency of alerts, how many times to send the alerts (is indefinitely a good idea?), how many emergency contact should be allowed (not more than two or three?), should it be easy to turn the alert off (after all if a “bad” guy wants to do it, they could just smash your phone or simply turn it off from the power button) – to name a few.

Regardless of the SOS app used, it can never replace emergency response services like 911. Nor should anyone intend to use an SOS app to replace emergency response services.

At the end of the day, is that these SOS apps provide a peace of mind, some kind of reassurance? And most importantly - confidence. They are a good compliment to emergency response services.

Watch out for abuse – it is never a good idea to abuse a valuable service.

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Travelers need a guiding star

Chicago - July 14, 2015

While traveling on business to Virginia, I was excited about the opportunity to explore and work in a new location, even if only for a short time. What made the trip even nicer was that a good friend and colleague was on the same assignment I was and got to travel with me. On the day we were scheduled to leave, I intended to rely on my GPS device to get me back to the airport, as I had used this stress saving device throughout the trip. However, the airport was in Washington D.C., and I was in Virginia. The GPS device could not recognize my location and was trying to take me in the opposite direction from the airport. My “accurate” device was not so accurate anymore. I was stressed at the idea of not being able to find my way or missing my flight, all while still not being entirely familiar with the area. Fortunately my colleague got to the airport before me. I called her and explained what was going on.  I described where I thought I was, although I was not entirely sure. I am lucky that she remembered the route (mostly) and gave me directions.

Most travelers are not as lucky as I was to have someone there who can guide them when lost. Many travel alone and the closest person they know is states away. Had my colleague not been there, I do not know what I would have done.

A location sharing app like CagoMama would have saved me. Even if the closest person you know and trust is hundreds of miles away, you can still instantly and accurately share your location with them and have a map of where you are. 

Here is another incident, from a close friend, in her own words:

I was in Western Europe a couple of weeks ago for a pilgrimage with my Mom. We were with a tour group where the day-to-day schedule was kind of intense. The tour guide was really strict in sticking to the schedule. One day, me and my mom were running late. We came down to the hotel lobby and to our surprise, our tour group had already left! Good thing that I had asked our tour guide the day before to install CagoMama and enter my number as a “trusted” contact. So I gave her a call. She did not answer, but no worries, because the app sent me the tour guide’s location immediately and me and my mom were able to catch up with them.
— Timmy, who carried CagoMama on her smartphone, during a recent trip to Portugal, Spain, and France, with her mom

Getting lost while traveling happens all the time. Remember to install CagoMama and use it often during your trip so that traveling and navigating in a new territory can be stress free!

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Checking in: How often is too often?

Chicago - July 3, 2015

Tomorrow your child is going to an away game for their team. Or maybe they are going to their best friend’s sleepover. Many parents may have some level of anxiety in being able to trust their child is always safe and sound. The need to know exactly where they are and who is with them is of upmost importance; this is where the need for children to “check in” became necessary.

As a pre-teen and teen, I remember my mother always asking me to call when I arrived and when I was leaving anyplace outside of going to school. One of my friends had to call to check in every hour she was out. Some of my other friends only had to let their parents know when they arrived at their starting location. Other friends never had to check in at all.

This poses the question, how often should children “check in” with their parents when they are out? What is the acceptable number of times children should tell their parents where they are? Rather than having a perfectly clear answer, it is determined by the communication expectations between a parent and child. While it is important to ensure the safety of your child, it is also important to allow them their freedom and enjoy themselves while they are out. There is a delicate balance between a child having to incessantly check in, and not having the expectation to have them check in at all. Conversations of what works for parents and children can be established before the child goes out to ensure boundaries that work best for both. Should your child tell you where they are when they arrive at a new location? Should they check in at the time they arrive and leave? Are you comfortable with them only telling you when they arrive at their first location? What do you feel comfortable with?

 Checking in with my mom when I arrived and left a location worked for both of us, while my friend checking in with her mom only at the time of arrival worked for them. Each parent and child scenario will be different.

However often you and your child agree is ok to check in, CagoMama makes this process simple with instant and accurate location sharing…just between you and them. 

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The "Need" for Privacy

Chicago - June 28, 2015

By using the convenience of smart technology and state of the art mobile applications, are we putting our privacy at stake? When we enter our information to register for an app or a social media site, we are merely providing our information to the company, right? Well, maybe. Or maybe not. Ever wonder why that pair of shoes you looked at online the other day now has an ad on your search engine or social media site? It’s no coincidence. The information that you provide is actually used to sell to other companies who will use it for data analysis and advertising. Where you vacation, where you shop, whom you choose as friends – is your business and no one else’s. According to a recent news report a social media site is under a lot of heat as it is being taken to court by Belgian privacy commission for breach of privacy and user tracking.

Photo by maxkabakov/iStock / Getty Images


Most of us are not aware of this violation of our privacy and how some sites use our data to fund their business models. A lot of times when we subscribe to an internet service or an app that is ‘free’ – our private information including email and locations frequented or web browsing patterns, is sold to advertisers to generate revenue.

Location sharing information is sold by many services too without your knowledge. Why would you want someone else to know the location of your child? Even if that information is used merely for the purpose of advertisements, you want to keep your private information and away from those who might sell it.

We know that you value your privacy and so do we. CagoMama does not want your data. The location information that you share with your loved ones is hidden from us, so we never get to see it or share it. No data is ever stored on our servers. Your location and the location of your trusted group is your business –we don’t make it our business. 

Remember CagoMama is Location sharing ... just between you and them.

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The "appeal" to locate

Chicago - June 8, 2015

There has been a growing concern about well being of elderly people with dementia and Alzheimer’s condition. With the rise in life expectancy, the number of patients with these conditions is growing at a fast pace and so is the number of memory care facilities.


One of the primary concerns among care givers is to make sure not to lose their patient or a loved one because they wandered away. An article published on June 3, 2015 in Desert News tells the story of a husband’s appeal for help from the communities to locate Alzheimer patients who wander away from home. Stephen Dunham of Clinton, UT said that since 2004 when his wife was diagnosed with this disease, he has been dedicated to the cause of keeping her safe. In spite of his best efforts , Kay has wandered off previously.

People with Alzheimer's are at higher risk of wandering, getting lost

More people are going to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s as 10,000 people a day turn 65 in our country
— Ronnie Daniel, executive director of the Alzheimer's Association Utah Chapter

There have been reports of patients wandering off from care facilities and homes, later found dead due to prolonged exposure to the elements. 

CagoMama is dedicated to help the communities – locate your loved ones with touch of a button. Remember - it's just between you and them.

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The "need" to locate

Chicago - June 1, 2015

Why do we need to share our location? Are we engaged in some twisted game of hide and seek or are we living in  a world full of mazes an demons where we might lose ourselves any moment? I grew up in a time where we played in the fields till the cows came home - my parents would have been worried only if I was not home at dinner time. Those were the days of rotary phones and black and white television ... Did I tell you- I am not old?

I never considered myself an overprotective parent till one day, my daughter did not come back home at her usual time from school. Minutes went by and my anxiety starting forming a knot in my stomach. I called the school office to be told that all the buses left school at usual time and they did not have any more information. Timing was crucial - I did not want this situation to turn into a national amber alert. I finally got a hold of someone at the bus company who raised an alarm after hearing from me. Any attempt to contact the bus driver ended up in no response. Now I had more people worried. As I reached for my phone to call the police, I saw the bus pulling up – an hour late. What a relief! Later I was notified that the delay and lack of responsiveness was a result of some poor choices made by some irresponsible people.

I am thankful that my child is safe. However, that one hour felt like a century and made me wish only if I could locate my daughter or the bus.

In an event when you cannot talk on the phone, but would still care to let your loved ones know where are you – location services come in handy. I am part of her ‘trusted list’ on her CagoMama app now and she lets me know her location in a timely manner.

I have to admit though – a lot of us are skeptical about ‘location services’ – is it the same as ‘tracking services’. I don’t want to be wearing an invisible chip under my skin so my owners can ‘track’ me. A location service designed with consumers' privacy in mind allows you to locate someone only if they have allowed you to do so by adding you to their trusted list.

The times have obviously changed – thankfully there is technology to help us make more happy memories!

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