|By||| Jan 15, 2013 | Malaysia|
Back in May 2012, Xin-ci was the talk of the town after nearly being abducted in her own car. Her Facebook note detailing how she escaped from the ordeal of being restrained in her own car by two men spread like wildfire, with over 50,000 shares. The incident took place at the multi-storey car park of The Curve, a shopping complex in Kuala Lumpur, that she frequents.
“Given what happened to previous similar cases, I know I would have been sexually assaulted and killed if I did not escape in time,” she shared.
She suffered from depression for months after the incident, and it dawned upon her that many women take safety for granted, especially in familiar surroundings.
“Safety is a concept that does not exist, especially for urban women. Almost every woman has the experience of calling a friend when they are places that they feel unsafe,” the former freelance social media engagement specialist said.
Xin-ci recognizes that this is a need that has to be addressed, so in October 2012, she decided to join her co-founder, James Khoo, in developing the security tracking mobile application.
Watch Over Me, previously known as SecQ.me (pronounced “secure me”), automatically triggers an alert for help in case of an emergency without the need for user intervention. It is available both for Android and iPhone.
Users register an event whenever they are engaging in a potentially dangerous situation. The app prompts users to provide useful information, like a text or voice message with a taxi’s serial number, a photo of a stranger they happen to be meeting for dinner, and a duration estimate. When users doesn’t “end an event” after the duration estimated, the app tracks using GPS, and issues a call for help.
Ever since joining the team, Xin-ci has been drawing learning points from the kidnap incident to make the design of the application more user-friendly. She has created the option of having pre-saved options to make registering an event less of a hassle.
The target market of the mobile application right now is concentrated on Malaysia and other Asian markets, where Watch Over Me will be partnering with local media to promote the mobile application. However, the beta type of the application is available worldwide and has more than 30,000 downloads. Its main target audience is urban women who often have to commute alone.
The effort of Watch Over Me does not end there. The team will be launching an extension of the app that is meant for parents to watch over their children by end of January.