Given the GPS, Wi-Fi, and connective capabilities, smartphones are a great lifeline when traveling abroad — if you have the right apps to assess your safety level (Safety Map Worldwide), find an emergency number (!Emergency!), or locate the nearest embassy (Smart Traveler). Tate Global, a travel safety-preparation company, is looking to consolidate this crowded marketplace with their new all-in-one app, ProtecTour.
The app features location-based information tracked by GPS, localized safety alerts that compile warnings from local radars and newscasts, 24/7 emergency support from real people, and localized information on embassies, hotels, hospitals, and police stations in your area. For those traveling in more dangerous regions, there is the "Panic" button that sends an alert to Tate, who will contact the proper local authorities (and you) whenever it is pressed. The app can deliver traveler location updates for anyone you'd like to keep tabs on you.
Tate Global began development of the app after conducting a study that surveyed 1,000 Americans aged 18 and over, from which they found that 80 percent of respondents are more concerned with being safe than having fun during an international trip. Despite this, less than one-third of respondents said they would know what to do when faced with an emergency abroad. The security company wanted to be able to provide that assurance to travelers in a way they knew would be convenient. "It's a 24/7 monitoring system that you can think of as a sort of travel insurance," says Susan Young, managing director at the company. "You hope you don't have to use it, but it's there for you if you need to."
The real-time safety alerts are prepared by a crowd-sourced monitoring system that collects information from social media and on-the-ground Tate sources. There are also full-time Tate team members conducting real-time on-location updates currently in Peru, Italy, Guatemala, Honduras, and the UK, sourcing info back to Tate headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia and then broadcasting it to the app. If ever you need to connect with the Tate team for app services, you are connected to the representatives in the Alexandria office.
The app can be purchased on iTunes App Store starting at $3.99 per month.