Parents all over Canada whose children go missing will now be able to send a global alert and ask for help from fellow mobile users through an app on BlackBerry smartphones, iPhone and Android devices.
Poynt Corporation and the Missing Children Society of Canada have launched their previously announced geo-targeted notification system to push child search alerts to Poynt users globally. The app puts the ability to stop child abductions directly into the hands of people while they are going about their day.
“We know that this push system will bring children home,” says Missing Children executive director Amanda Pick. “Being able to immediately engage people in a pin-pointed area where we are conducting an investigation or where a missing child has recently been sighted is a game-changer in the search for missing children.”
Judy Peterson, mother of Lindsey Nicholls, says any technology that will help in the recovery of missing children is an important tool. Lindsey vanished on August 2, 1993 on her way to visit friends in rural British Columbia, Canada. She has not been seen or heard from since.
More than 50,000 children are reported missing in Canada every year.
“The concept of reaching out to all Poynt users in a specific region and being able to ask for their help is amazing,” Peterson said. “I can’t help thinking that if this technology existed 18 years ago when my 14-year old daughter vanished, we would have had answers.
A first-of-its-kind geo-targeted notification system through a mobile app, Poynt will assist in the timely location and recovery of missing or abducted children. When a child goes missing or new information on their whereabouts is received, time is of the utmost importance.
By pushing geo-relevant Child Search Alerts to Poynt users already in the vicinity of a missing child, Poynt and Missing Children will be able to quickly disseminate important information to aid in the recovery of missing children.
The Child Search Alerts will direct Poynt users to a mobile website where they can view information about the missing child including pictures, a physical description, background details, information about other potential people who are with the child, as well as the area the child is thought to be located.
“Being socially responsible and giving back to our community is an important part of how we feel we can make an impact. We value our families and locating missing children is a cause near and dear to us,” says Andrew Osis, Poynt president and chief executive officer. “The capabilities of our location technology to target an area at a critical moment where a child’s life can be saved, is the perfect fit for us.”
Missing Children Society of Canada will enter information that will create a child search alert containing timely information on a missing child which will in turn be sent to Poynt users in a specified geographic area. Poynt users will then be notified via push notification that a child has been potentially sighted within a relevant radius of where they were last sighted.
Users do not have to be using Poynt at the time to receive a notification; notifications will be made based on the Poynt users last known location. On iPhone, a pop-up dialogue will appear notifying the user that a missing child might be in their area. On Android and BlackBerry smartphones a notification icon will appear at the top of the phone. The system will have an opt-out option which can be found in the menu on each device.
Poynt is available as a free download for users in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Australia on a variety of smart phones.