PHOENIX - A group of entrepreneurs in Phoenix will soon be beta testing a new application that could be used to help keep track of individuals most vulnerable to going missing -- the elderly.
The application, Bloodhound, is designed to work with a small Bluetooth enabled device that is to be worn by the individual. This can be placed in a pocket, a wallet, on keys or a necklace.
Project spokesman Andrew Jones said the app does not actively track or monitor a person's whereabouts, but is designed to help locate an individual quickly after being reported missing.
How does it work?
Individuals purchase one of the wireless devices that come with a unique identification number. The user downloads the Bloodhound app and enters important information about their loved one -- including a photo, age, home address, contact and any need-to-know medical information.
If a person goes missing, family members can report it using the app, which will send an alert out to the wireless device being worn by the missing individual.
Anyone who has downloaded the app and is within 100 to 150 feet of the missing individual will receive a specific alert to their smartphone. Then authorities can be called and the missing person can be reunited with family members.
The goal, according to Jones, is to cut down on the amount of time it takes to locate missing persons.
"This is new. This can save lives. We're using technology to really help people," he said.
The idea for the app came from William Scot Grey, co-founder and Director of Operations of Small Emperor, a Phoenix-based tech startup, after his father went missing in March.
"It was one of the scariest events I have encountered and I wanted to do something about it," said Grey.
Jones said the startup will begin beta testing the app soon, with a limited amount of individuals, and is expected to last about three months.
The beta testing will focus on retirement communities, specifically with the elderly, however, the company said the technology has the potential to be used with any missing persons, including children, and even pets.
In case individuals are worried about privacy, the company said the app does not actively track individuals. The individual’s device is only activated once that person has been reported missing.
Jones said the beacons and the app are currently only available for Apple devices, however, the company hopes to expand to Android devices soon.
The company said it is still discussing pricing for the Bluetooth devices, but expects the app to be free. The company is working to keep costs low.
Users may have to pay a registration fee; however, specifics are still being sorted out, said Jones.
The app is being designed by William Scot Grey, Pradeep Chaudhari, Lindsey Baker and Andrew Jones.