Close

Verisafe's Hannah Milward on using tech to keep people safe (listen)

Verisafe founder Hannah Milward chats about her personal safety mobile application/tool, how tech can help keep people safe in potentially dangerous situations, and more.

Top image: Hannah Milward.

The world can be a dangerous place.

That's not meant to be hyperbole - it's a sad fact of life.

Trained nurse and Wellingtonian Hannah Milward is keenly aware of this, too - which is why she founded Verisafe, a personal safety mobile application/tool which helps businesses, organisations, and at-risk people in the community by letting people know when they're in a potentially dangerous situation and might need help.

The app has three main features. It has a "help" button that can be pressed, which will immediately send an alert to the user's emergency contacts with information including their location. There is also an "at risk" feature. A person who knows they may be heading into a risky situation - whether it be walking home late at night or visiting someone at their home (like nurses, journalists and others often do) - can set check-in times on their phone. When they begin the at-risk period, the app will take snapshots of the user's location every 10 minutes. If the person fails to check in, this information will be sent to emergency contacts. The alert will still be sent even if the phone is dead, broken, or out of coverage.

The third feature is a "safety vault," into which the user can put any information into they believe will be useful to their emergency contacts. That could include photographs, ID, insurance details, information about any health conditions, contact details for next of kin, places of work, their regular commute route, places of residence, etc.

Verisafe was established a few years ago, and it's already being adopted by a range of organisations throughout New Zealand, including Victim Support, the Palmerston North branch of Women's Refuge, hospitality groups, several real estate agents, and a client in the UK carrying out property inspections. Verisafe fully sponsors some non-profit organisations, and they recently won an award in Sydney for their work in health and safety.

Milward is also a humanitarian, and has worked with Asia Outreach for several years. She came up with the Verisafe concept after her boss almost died when they were hit by a logging truck in the jungles of Cambodia. Milward says she realised that, from this experience, there needed to be a solution that did not rely on the ability to make a call, or to even reach a phone. 

Have a listen below to what Milward has to say about Verisafe, and how technology can be used to keep people safe.

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).