Panic button app to improve security in communities

  • TECH
  • Monday, 28 Mar 2016

Connecting communities: The MyTaman system makes it easy for residents to communicate and alert the guards during emergency incidents.

If you live in an area patrolled by private security guards, Zoinla Sdn Bhd is offering to complement the system with a panic app. 

Called MyTaman, the app alerts the guards and the entire neighbourhood in the event of an emergency. 

A mere touch of the app will trigger an alarm in the guard post. Once this alarm is triggered, only the person who tapped for help will be able to turn it off – the guard at the post will be forced to respond, unless he wants to keep hearing a deafening siren. 

MyTaman app creator Benjamin Lim, 45, said the system was designed as such because there were times when security guards did not respond fast enough, or did not turn up at all. 

He adds that the residents will also get push notifications in text form. Also, three “trusted neighbours” will receive an urgent alert in the form of an app call. 

Lim recalled a recent case in his housing estate in Damansara Jaya, which was the first to deploy the MyTaman system. 

“A number of residents responded to the emergency right after everyone received the notification within the app and actually converged at the location of the break-in to help,” he said. 

Even when a break-in happens and nobody is at home, neighbours can easily alert the guards with the app, so that help can arrive within minutes. 

“With MyTaman, your community is always your backup. With the implementation of the system, we noticed that people are more than willing to help out their neighbours, and having such an app which connects the community makes it even easier to do so,” said Lim. 

“The app provides a way to communicate with the guards and also a platform for the residents to come together as a community to take charge of their safety,” said the app’s co-creator Eric Ong, 33. 

The whole idea came from Lim’s experience with his housing estate's residents association and the struggle to get things working, be it for alerts, payment or even notices. 

“There wasn’t a proper platform to connect the residents with committee members as everything was communicated through WhatsApp," said Lim. He added that in an emergency, a WhatsApp message could go unnoticed. 

The MyTaman app also includes a Visitor Pass System, which Ong said is aimed at solving the problems of the existing physical log book registration process, where information can be falsified. 

With the app, residents can issue a “visitor pass” with detailed particulars such as the visitor’s name, car plate number, Identification Card number, and the date of the visit – visitors will no longer have to manually write down their particulars and leave their ICs at the guard house. 

This pass can then be printed out at the guard house and issued to the visitors. Additionally, the details of the visits will be archived and made digitally accessible from the app. 

Lim and Ong developed the system over six months. The system includes a display console, smart siren, and a modem that supports 4G or Unifi that will be installed at the guard house. 

Currently, four housing estates are running the MyTaman system namely SS22A Damansara Jaya, which was the pilot; Damai Citra, Alam Damai in Cheras; Bandar Puteri, Puchong; and Taman Perwira Setia near Taman Melati, Kuala Lumpur. 

While the app is free for anyone to download, those wishing to use the MyTaman app must first be registered with their neighbourhood residents associations, as their respective committee members will need to verify them as current residents before approving them as members of their online MyTaman community. 

To date, the company managed to achieve about 75% of take-up rate among the residents for the housing estates the system is currently deployed in, said Ong. Fifty two housing estates in the Klang Valley are currently running the system on trial. 

The price ranges from RM3,000 to RM8,000 per year per housing association, depending on its size and the number of houses, not inclusive of a one-time installation fee and maintenance costs. 

The MyTaman app is available on Android and iOS.

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