Safety & Security | News
Rochester Institute of Tech Adopts Student-Created Blue Light Safety App
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Rochester Institute of
Technology (RIT) has adopted a new safety app
developed by students at the New York school. TigerSafe,
branded on campus, works like a "virtual blue light security phone."
The free app allows members of the campus community to connect
immediately with public safety officers in the event of an emergency or
The mobile app is a service developed by CampusSafe, a
by RIT MBA student Eric Irish. Versions work on Apple iOS and Google
Android. As Irish explained in
an RIT video, the app provides a "blue
light in your pocket. If you're in some real trouble, you can hold down
this emergency button. It's going to send a report and put you directly
in contact with public safety."
Because the Institute has a large deaf and hard of hearing
Irish said, the user can choose to call or text after pressing the blue
light. GPS tracking enables public safety dispatchers to pinpoint the
location of the caller.
The app has three major functions:
- Inform displays public safety and other phone
numbers and safety tips;
- Report shares the user’s GPS location and lets them
call for help with jumpstarts, noise complaints, escorts and lockouts;
- Assist provides the blue light button, which
communicates the user’s location, contact details and related
information. After pressing the button, the user is dialed into public
safety personnel to continue the conversation via phone or text message.
"Public Safety is here as a service for the RIT community, and with
this new app we hope to make ourselves more convenient and accessible
to contact," said Chris Denninger, director of RIT Public Safety.
The idea for the app came when Irish began working with a public
investigator on ways to modernize the office's use of technology. The
concept for the app won a 2011 Shark Tank competition at the school.
Two years later an RIT fourth-year computer science student was brought
into the start-up to "scale the app" and ready it for commercial
"RIT is the first university to purchase the app and we already have
several other colleges interested," said Irish, who earned an IT degree
from RIT in 2012. "We plan to individualize the app for each campus and
to continue adding features as new ideas develop."
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.