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Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, can be seen in a new television ad campaign touting the changes he’s going to make to the company.
What users are seeing first is a direct response to Uber’s most damaging stigma: rider safety.
A new feature announced this week offers an always-on emergency button that when tapped will immediately dial 911 should the rider or driver feel threatened.
The ride hailing company is also committing $350,000 to improve communications at select 911 call centers around the country. Riders can also alert a hot list of close contacts should they start to worry.
Uber’s new approach to safety is a good reminder for the real estate industry. Even though we’re very thankful to not have reported a serious act of violence against an agent in recent months, the industry shouldn’t rest on this issue — it has to be a component of the job 24/7.
Inman has reviewed a number of agent safety apps over the years, and if you don’t have one on your device, here are a few to consider:
This app uses a person’s phone number to cull public data records to uncover address history, time connected to that phone number and, of course, any publicly available criminal history.
The popular agent productivity app has a built-in safety measure for agents that uses a timer. If it’s not shut off or adjusted before expiring, the app sends a text to an emergency contact list.
This app is as simple as holding and releasing a button on your device screen. If you lift your finger without entering the pin, the police are notified. This may be best used when you know ahead of time that the situation is sketchy.
After signup, users save Kitestring’s alert number in their contacts, and text to it the number of minutes they expect to be out with a buyer or at a showing (e.g. “35m.”) If you don’t respond to Kitestring’s “check-in” after that time frame, emergency contacts are notified. There’s nothing to download — one only needs the number. And it’s free.
This on-demand showing app uses a “Begin Showing” button to let followers know you’re safely working and pinpoints your location on a map. There’s a panic button if something goes wrong, and the app will automatically alert contacts if you leave that location without notification.
This personal data miner is good for learning more about important leads, but it’s also handy for running background checks on folks you may meet in the field.
Inman strongly recommends you not rely on an app alone to ensure your safety. Here are some other tips:
- When possible, bring a companion with you.
- Share the location and intent of your trip with an actual person.
- If you carry a form of self-defense, be certain you know how to use it.
- When uncomfortable about meeting someone, don’t.
- Male agents, don’t be fooled into thinking you’re “tough enough.”
Remember: technology should be considered merely a support tool for common sense when it comes to staying safe during showings and home tours.
Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.