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South Africa: Rapid Response signs up with Huawei

South Africa: Rapid Response signs up with Huawei.

Technology services firm Huawei has signed an exclusive agreement with Rapid Response, a emergency services app launched in 2013 that is said to 'transform a mobile phone into an emergency panic button'.

The agreement will see the app embedded within Huawei phones as a native service that links users to emergency service providers.

"This innovative service mirrors our commitment to putting our customers first in all that we do," says Charlene Munilall, GM of Huawei Consumer Group South Africa. "By offering access to the Rapid Response service, our customers will be able to receive immediate response to crime and accident emergencies."

The Rapid Response service was launched in 2013 by South African entrepreneurs Marlize Holtzhausen and Gerrit Cloete and has gone on to take top honours at the 2014 GoogleFest pitching competition in Zurich, as well as the International Labour Organisation's Enterprise Challenge the previous year.

"An endorsement from a company like Huawei says a lot about our credibility and the type of change they want to see," comments Holtzhausen. "Low levels of service delivery in emergency services and the high crime affecting families are two of the biggest challenges in South Africa, which will now be seen in a different light as assistance is immediately at hand."

According to the partner companies the app incorporates a number of innovative services that can make a significant difference in response times and the type of assistance available to someone in an emergency situation.

"Utilising location-based services, including NFC technology, Rapid Response is able to alert emergency services providers such as ER24, a contracted security company or personal contacts that an emergency has occurred," states a media release.

"Utilising either the Rapid Response NFC tag or a one-touch emergency button, users can send an emergency alert in the event of a crime emergency, or a car or similar accident in which medical care is required," the release continues.

Once an alert is sent out, ER24 will either dispatch an emergency response vehicle or alert the local police station or designated private security company, the partners explain.

Holtzhausen says that dispatching emergency assistance in a timely manner is critical to ensuring the safety of people in distress, as well as minimising trauma to victims and their families. As the GPS co-ordinates of the emergency situation are dispatched with the alert, emergency and security personnel are also able to respond more effectively.

Munilall says that trials of the Rapid Response app will include integration with Huawei's Talkband wearable device. This product features next-generation technology that can capture critical information such as heart rate and, as it incorporates NFC, can be used instead of the Rapid Response tag.

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