The recent tragedy in Barcelona, Spain, in which a van was driven into pedestrians on La Rambla the afternoon of August 17, reminds us all of the “new world order” in which it can be quite dangerous to be in a large crowd. This event appears to have been a terrorist incident, although the details are still emerging as of the time of this writing. What is apparent, however, is that persons traveling abroad and visiting high profile tourist cities, especially but not only in Europe, need to be aware of their surroundings and take precautions.
We have been pleased to have received several positive phone calls and emails from parents and study abroad students who used our FoneTrac travel safety app to check in after the event. One of the features of FoneTrac that is very useful is this pro-active “check in” whereby a study abroad student, business traveler, or even an employee who may transit a board daily (say, for example, the border between the United States and Mexico) can “check in” and alert his or her superiors as to status. A common use would be for a traveler to “check in” on a daily basis. In addition, after an event such as the Barcelona tragedy, persons can use the “check in” feature to alert family, friends, and relevant contacts of one’s status. This is one of the most important features of the FoneTrac travel safety app.
Push Alerts from FoneTrac to Recipients
In addition, we are pleased to report that the situation can also go “in reverse.” In this recent Barcelona event as well as other possible terrorist events, “push alerts” can be sent to FoneTrac app users, pro-actively alerting them of an event such as a potential terrorist threat so that they can take immediate precautions. This use is not dissimilar to the use of apps or even sirens in areas prone to natural storms such as tornadoes in the Midwest. Having a little “pre” knowledge can be a powerful assist to one’s security, whether the threat is from a natural event like a tornado or a man-made event like a terrorist attack.
All of this is a small bit of positive news in this increasingly troubled world. Parents, administrators and others certainly worry about study abroad students, business travelers and employees. We are heartened to report that FoneTrac is one of a growing suite of technologies than can give solidarity to the old saying, “Knowledge is power.”