Smart safety technology that’s connected

Issue 1 2021 Editor's Choice

Trigger is a new, smart, on-demand emergency services app that provides instant access to a network of independent armed response, paramedics, roadside assistance operators, legal advice and trauma counselling services – all in real time, and all at the touch of just one button. The multi-services, one-platform app utilises eHailing technology (for some of its services) and was recently launched to meet the ever-growing demand for easy access to prompt and reliable emergency assistance at home, but especially when people are out and about.

Crime and trauma are an everyday reality in South Africa at present, necessitating that caution is exercised at all times, whether at home, work or play. However, the affordability and accessibility of omnipresent private security and emergency services can be prohibitive. Not only that, but generic subscription emergency services are generally limited to a single specific security or emergency service and/or provider – usually for armed response only.

Commenting on the launch, Morné Kruger, Trigger’s CEO, said: “Our aim with Trigger is not just to provide easy access to a smart affordable platform that gives subscribers a choice of emergency services all in one place, but also, in the long term, to enable a shift in behaviour. We want to facilitate a state of wellbeing and freedom to live life with confidence – wherever and whenever – knowing that if needed, assistance is available and can be expedited as quickly as possible.”

Multiple features

Pushing on-demand safety solutions firmly into the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), Trigger is a technology platform available on Android and iOS through the requisite app stores or through the Trigger website. Trigger uses minimal data to run, whether kept open or when in use.

Much like eHailing apps, Trigger enables users to access the closest, approved armed response vehicle (from a large network of qualified service providers) and other essential emergency services, accurately sending them to the activated location (provided it is in an area covered by the service).

Aside from fast, proactive armed response, Trigger’s essential on-demand platform also quickly connects subscribers to paramedics with Netcare 911, roadside assistance with the AA, trauma and suicide counselling lines, as well as an on-demand lawyer service, among others.

Subscribers to the platform activate the required service via their smartphone or smart wearable device. Trigger also launches with a standalone lightweight portable panic button – ideal for runners, hikers, cyclists and even children – that can activate armed response, which will be autonomously dispatched to the GPS-logged location (an ultra-smart sensor alert device is planned for phase 2 later in 2021). Trigger’s panic buttons also have a two-year battery life and the platform sends out a message to the subscriber on a regular basis to remind them to check their devices and when to renew the battery – research shows that panic calls often fail due to battery failure.

Access to the services is through monthly subscriptions (on a month-to-month basis) or a yearly subscription with entry-level armed response service from as little as R39 per person per month, up to a Platinum plan catering to a family, providing access to the full suite at R299 per family of four per month (extra charges may apply to certain services).

Machine-to-machine dispatch

Almost five years in the making, Trigger has now collaborated with over 220 independent armed response companies. Trigger armed response partners are issued with an on-board responder device, which enables Trigger to provide a machine-to-machine dispatch service instead of relying solely on the use of a call centre.

Consequently, when the user hits the Trigger call button, the closest vehicle is autonomously dispatched. This results in extremely fast response times and when it comes to an emergency, minutes can be the difference between life and death. (Locations/communications are encrypted and shared only with the accredited service providers).

How it works

The alert is distributed to the five closest response vehicles to the user’s location. The closest response vehicle taps to accept the alert and is then navigated to the GPS-led accurate location. Further, the user’s profile and key information is automatically and securely shared with the dispatched vehicle and that company’s particular control room.

Trigger has a personal touch too, as it marries human innovation with digital technology and systems engineering to get the best solution possible, which is ensuring a trained human emergency responder can get to the distress call as quickly as possible.

Medical, roadside, legal and counselling services are activated by clicking on the appropriate icons in the app itself. A set of verifying questions are asked to ensure the responder is talking to the correct person.

The buddy system

Given the myriad of potential scenarios in which a subscriber might find themselves, Trigger also allows its subscribers to summon help for a friend if they are not members and need emergency assistance. These are limited to a specific number of free callouts per annum, but the option is available for additional callouts, which would be billed on a case-by-case service provider basis.

With an eye fixed on the future, Kruger added, “We also see our platform integrating into the smart home environment and an extended range of smart wearables (watches, clothing, etc.) in the not-too-distant future, along with a host of complementary services that will make it easier for everyone to be empowered when it comes to accessing tools that can enhance their lives.”

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