Students unsure about Humber’s safety app

by | Mar 27, 2015 | Biz/Tech

Ryan Durgy
Biz/Tech Reporter

A year and a half after its launch at Humber College, the Guardian safety app for mobile phones is still working to gain student adherents.

Rob Kilfoyle, Director of Public Safety and Emergency Management at Humber’s North Campus, said the Guardian app was launched a year and a half ago.

“It’s a free tool that (students) can download and it gives them immediate phone access to public safety and the police through 911,” he said.

“It also lists a number of safety resources or services to folks,” he said.

“While we have all this information available on our website, we know that the trend is, particularly with younger people, to be doing everything on their mobile phones,” Kilfoyle said.

Jonathan Goulet, a first-year Game Programming student, agrees that students aren’t looking at websites anymore.

“People don’t want to go on websites, they want to use apps. They’re so much quicker. Just press and it’s there,” he said.

Kilfoyle said there’s more to this app than public safety, including maps of campus and a couple of other “tips and tricks.”

“It’s got a little personal (emergency) alarm on it and it’s got a flashlight,” he pointed out.

Kilfoyle said the app also advises students about what to do in certain emergencies, such as a lockdown, fire alarm or bomb threat.

Andre Apperley, a first-year Broadcast Television student, said he downloaded Guardian after seeing a poster for the app last semester but deleted it shortly after.

“I had it downloaded for a little bit. I used it a few times though. It wasn’t the greatest experience, I’d say,” Apperley said.

He said there weren’t a lot of features that were applicable to him.

“There was a call for help button that required a network usage that I don’t have,” he said.

“In terms of emergency, I don’t think I’m going to bust out my phone, bring out my phone, and use the app. I think I’d rather call for help,” Apperley said.

Apperley said he can see why the app could be helpful for students and noted the campus maps and direct lines to security.

“I think they just kind of need to make it more user friendly,” Apperley said.

Goulet said he would be interested in downloading the Guardian app because it has features that interest him and sounds like a “well-rounded” app.

Kilfoyle said while the app isn’t public safety’s mass communication tool, if students have their notifications enabled for the app, messages can be pushed right to students’ phones.

He said that by the end of this month the user analytics for the app should be known, however, he said last year around 1,800 students were using the app.

Kilfoyle believes the amount of users on the app has increased since then thanks to the marketing of the app to students.

Guardian is available for download in Apple, Android and Blackberry app stores.