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University launches world first safety device to students

AUT University launches new safety device to students in world first

AUT University strives to provide a safe environment for its students to study, learn and live in. As part of that commitment, AUT will trial a new smartphone application (“app”) which was launched at AUT’s two student accommodation houses: Akoranga Student Village and Wellesley Student Apartments last week. AUT is the first university in the world to offer this nationwide, off-campus service to its students.

The ‘2 Life’ app is New Zealand’s first nationwide, 24/7 monitored, mobile personal safety service. The app was developed by lawyer Stephen Katz and Executive Director of Image Centre Mike Hutcheson as a result of four years of extensive research after seeing an opportunity to develop a personal safety device.

With the press of an icon, the app will allow people on their smartphones to be linked to trained call centre operators who will know personal details (which are provided upon subscription) and can initiate two-way communication while tracking your location. They will also be able to evaluate the situation and provide the help needed whether it’s an ambulance, the fire service, police, campus security, security guard patrol or vehicle breakdown assistance, or even a safe ride home. The app will also help students who have visual and hearing impairments as it is fully accessible for those students.

Research from Education New Zealand shows that personal safety is the second most important issue after education quality for potential international students when selecting a university. With the introduction of this trial at AUT’s student accommodation houses, nearly 200 international students will be able to have access to help 24 hours of the day, seven days a week. Furthermore, the call centre provides operators who speak Cantonese, Mandarin and Korean – three of the most spoken languages used by international students in New Zealand.

The hope is that after the trial the app will be taken up by all students nationwide which will help to make New Zealand both a safe educational destination and a safer country to live in.

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