SPAARTN (SPecial Alerts And Response Text Network) is a series of apps leveraging your existing SMS text network to provide quick contact capabilities in case of an emergency. While this system relies on being within reach of a cell carrier’s tower, the near ubiquity of said towers means that you’ll almost always be able to use a SPAARTN app when you’re in need.
Pros and Cons of SPAARTN
We’re not going to lie and tell you that these apps are perfect for all situations. But we’ll give you the pro’s and con’s and let you decide if it works for you. If it doesn’t work, let us know. We’d love to develop something that does.
- Uses your current smart device (phone/tablet/etc.). Don’t have to worry about carrying extra equipment with you.
- Cost. Similar dedicated devices can cost anywhere from the hundreds to thousands of dollars. SPAARTN apps are less than 5 bucks!
- Simplicity. SPAARTN apps are easy to use. You don’t need to be dealing with complicated button presses and input methods when you need help. SPAARTN Apps help you avoid that.
- Uses your current texting plan and carrier. You don’t have to pay for an extra service for a device you may only pull out once a month. You’ll also know quickly if you can send a message or not. If you have service you have access to SPAARTN.
- Built on the current SMS Protocol. SMS has been proven time and again and is a very reliable (but not perfect) protocol. But by using this protocol we are able to leverage some great features. For instance if your settings are right, your device can continue to try sending the text if it’s unsuccessful on the first try a.k.a. SPAARTN DOESN’T GIVE UP WHEN YOU NEED IT!
- Battery Life. Since the device isn’t dedicated the app is subject to what may be the very limited battery life of your phone or tablet.
- Phone Service. If you don’t have service, SPAARTN apps aren’t able to connect you to an emergency contact. As said above this is mitigated through proper text settings, but definitely prevents the app from being used in extremely remote areas.
- An App not a button. Some dedicated devices are as simple as a key pull to set off the alert. Being an app it may require at the very least 2 clicks/touches/etc. to get the message out. This could cost some time. We are working to mitigate that with the future development of widgets allowing you to access help directly from your home screen.
SPAARTN currently comes in two flavors: Basic and Advanced. Since quick response times are often necessary we’ve provided the simplest most bare-bones way to send an emergency response in SPAARTN:BASIC, and will provide a more feature rich and robust, but still lightning fast, experience in the SPAARTN:ADVANCED.
SPAARTN:BASIC is the simplest way to use your text network to alert someone that you need help. It’s as easy as opening the app (widget coming soon) and hitting the help button! Once you’ve done so an emergency text will be sent to your default contact or the most recent contact you’ve chosen. If your location services are turned on (SPAARTN will prompt you if it’s not on) your exact GPS coordinates as well as a link to their location on Google Maps will be included in the text. This is as simple as it gets.
SPAARTN:ADVANCED is still in development. It will be a feature rich app with the same simple design and ability to quickly reach out for emergency help. The biggest difference is you will be able to specify the emergency type and communicate with your emergency contact right inside the app. It will also provide System CREated AutoMatic Signals (SCREAMS) that will send a request for help based on sensor settings you choose, such as being still for too long or being in a certain location. This feature will allow you to get help even in those situations where you can’t reach your phone or are incapacitated in some other way.
- Google Play (COMING SOON!)
- Apple App Store (COMING SOON?)