Austin-based startup Plerts recently released a service application that leverages check-in technology to enhance one’s safety and security. Users are enabled to select people from their social graph to become part of one’s safety alerting system. If you are in danger or miss a check in people in your safety alerting system are notified via text and email. Plerts launched as a free iPhone app, a Facebook app and as web app.
For example, if you are apartment hunting and the locations are not familiar to you and you want to feel more secure you could choose to enable Plerts. If you fail to check in after the apartment visit, members of your safety alert system will be notified that you are missing.
In addition to logistical safety concerns, Plerts addresses health safety issues. The system can be enabled for users that take medication to check in on a schedule, notifying user’s safety circle when with confirmation that medication was taken, an alert if there was not check in.
These are only two of the many possible uses for Plerts. The goal is to prevent an emergency, and while it’s not a replacement for 911, the system may prevent the need to call 911.
Privacy is also a primary concern for Plerts. People may not want to tap into their social graph and reveal a medical condition or a location concern, but no one needs to know what you are doing that requires a check in. That aspect remains private unless the unfortunate occurs and you miss a check in. At that point only the user’s selected safety people would be notified of your location and personal information.
Plerts is a free service, but a premium service is also offered. The cost is $4.99 a month or $49.99 for an entire year. The company also has ongoing discussions with hospitals, universities, insurance companies and parents groups.
Although this service faces competition from Life360 and possible adoption challenges due to user concerns of privacy, the service does demonstrate the power of leveraging online tools and friends with offline activities. In addition, this service may prevent a true emergency and for that reason it’s certainly worth investigating.
Plerts was founded by Andrew Busey and Colin Anawaty. Busey is founder and CEO of Challenge Games, and previously founded Pluck and created iChat. Anawaty formerly founded the application development company Saltlick Labs. [Full Disclosure: Anawaty also provides creative direction for AustinStartup.]