With real estate agents renewing their focus on safety in the field in the wake of two Florida agents being robbed at gunpoint by a man posing as a client, one mobile app offers protection for agents who may be nervous about setting up meetings with strangers.
Bmonitored, developed by Orlando area-based Imagination Unlimited, is a personal safety app for anyone who may need to meet with strangers. The app was the idea of John Cassinari, executive producer, and Harry Waltz, president, who have been friends since college and were each looking for self-protection for different reasons.
“John is the technical one, and I had the idea,” Waltz said. “At the time, I was selling off pieces and parts of a company, and making a lot of Craigslist deals.
“I was meeting with people about whom I had a little information, but not a whole lot,” Waltz added. “Craigslist tells you under its safety guidelines to tell someone where you are going, to take your cellphone, etc., but that didn’t seem to be enough.”
At the same time, Cassinari found himself back in the dating pool after a divorce, “and I was going on a lot of blind dates with people I had little information about,” he said. “Harry would say, ‘Check with me later so I can make sure you are OK.’ And we thought, ‘We bet an app can fulfill these purposes.’”
Here’s how it works: The user enters the details of a meeting, including start and end times, location, and the identity of the person with whom you are meeting. At certain intervals, Bmonitored will ask for confirmation that you are safe.
When you respond with a one-digit personal identification number (PIN), the system’s clock resets until the next time interval passes. Bmonitored will again ping you until you shut the system off by entering a four-digit PIN.
If you do not respond after the selected interval, Bmonitored will send an automated email or text to a “Safety Monitor” of your choosing — such as a spouse or significant other, a friend, a family member or a coworker — that includes the time and place of your meeting, who you were meeting and how your meeting was initiated (such as Craigslist, Angie’s List, eHarmony or your brokerage).
This information is sent only if you do not respond, keeping your meeting private until there is a problem. Your monitor will then attempt to contact you and determine if you need immediate assistance. If your monitors cannot contact you, they can notify the authorities of your last known GPS location, a function available in Bmonitored’s ProVersion, and all of your meeting information.
Bmonitored offers an additional safety feature in the form of an emergency button that you can push if you require immediate assistance. This button immediately emails your monitors and dials 911. The ProVersion also texts, records audio/video and tracks your GPS location.
“I can actually see, somewhere down the line, when you meet up with a client or someone on Craigslist, and they see you have your cellphone out in your hand with this app, it may work as a deterrent,” Waltz said. “People will start to assume you already have this type of protection.”
Bmonitored is listed on the National Association of Realtors’ website as a personal safety resource for real estate agents. The app is available for both Android and iPhone on Google Play and Apple’s App Store for $2.99.