Toronto’s Guardly Partners with OCAD University to Turn Smartphones into Safety Alarms

OCAD University, where imagination is everything, has teamed up with Toronto-based mobile startup Guardly to launch “a revolutionary new service” aimed at improving the safety of students and faculty on and off campus. Dubbed The Guardly Safe Campus Program, the technology “transforms personal smartphones into code blue emergency phones,” allowing students to signal distress from their mobile devices. 

“Guardly’s Safe Campus Program has been designed in tandem with campus security administrators and unlocks the capabilities for security managers to immediately identify callers, track location in real-time and communicate with emergency callers by voice or instant messaging,” said Josh Sookman, CEO of Guardly.

“The Guardly Safe Campus Program will undoubtedly revolutionize security services in higher education environments,” said OCAD University President, Dr. Sara Diamond. “Guardly is a powerful communications tool for campus security teams, giving them the critical information they need to effectively respond to emergency incidents ever more quickly. We’re even more proud that the infrastructure for the service was developed within OCAD U’s mobile incubator at the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre. This is one of many research commercialization successes coming through OCAD U’s research and innovation initiatives.”

During an active emergency incident on campus, Guardly uses a combination of GPS, WiFi and cell tower triangulation to track location and provides this information to a campus security dispatcher. For privacy purposes, location tracking is only enabled once a student triggers an alert. A caller’s extended safety network can provide input to campus security to aid in response efforts.

OCAD is currently engaged in a “rigorous testing period.” It plans to roll out the app to the whole university community by September.