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ICE Contact can ping your friends after you go missing

TechCrunch TechCrunch 10/05/2016 Haje Jan Kamps

There’s plenty of emergency messaging tools out there, but ICE Contact takes a different tack than most. It uses delayed messages to tell your friends something’s gone wrong if you don’t return when you planned to — even if you are out of mobile phone coverage areas.

Create a message and a time to send it; and it’ll be safely stored on the server. If you make it back to base in one piece, you can cancel it. If you fail to cancel it because you’ve been mauled by a bear, fallen into a ravine, or you ran out of battery on your phone, it’s all systems go. Your contact network is alerted to your absence, along with your last known location and your message.

Of course, you don’t have to wait until you’re late returning from your hike: the app offers standard emergency messaging, too, which works in exactly the way you’d expect, and is useful, if not very novel or exciting.

“The app was born on a solo hike. I was enjoying the beautiful nature, but realized that if anything went wrong, nobody would find me,” says ICE Contact’s founder and CEO. “I didn’t want to alarm my family but wished there was a way to set a delayed message that would track my journey and only send an alert if I didn’t return in time”. 

The recipient of your message can use the ICE Contact app themselves, but if they do not, they’ll be notified by SMS message and e-mail instead.

Available both on iOS or for Android, the app falls firmly in the “Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it” camp. 

Fun fact: The app is named for the tradition of adding a contact in your phone book called ‘ICE’ – or In Case of Emergency, so the emergency services know who to call if you turn up unconscious somewhere.

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