A mobile-based security system for BPO employees

Thursday, 22 November 2007, 08:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: Even as the rape and murder of a Pune call centre employee by her cab driver is fresh on everyone's mind, a software analyst has developed a mobile phone-based system that may provide better protection to BPO staff in transit.

"After two cases of rape and murder of female call centre employees, BPO firms have an uphill task so far as security is concerned. And here comes our system - simple and effective," said Chennai-based V.M. Sankaran Nampoothiri.

"The GPS-based systems are not adequate as India have not developed maps for every single nook and corner of our cities. However, our system Webtra will work everywhere as it is mobile technology based," Nampoothiri told IANS.

As soon as an employee gets into a cab, he/she will log on to the mobile phone and send an SMS to a centralised number and after five minutes, a message automatically goes to the employee.

"If he or she does not respond to the message, a call will follow in after five minutes. If the person fails to respond, then the system will declare a crisis alert. The transport department will then call the family or any close friend of the person and all other employees who are slotted in the cab," he said.

"It is really foolish to expect that a person in trouble will be able to call any helpline or office. For us, it's not communication but break of communication that is a good alert."

Nampoothiri said currently two BPOs - one each in Bangalore and Chennai - were using his system but scores of others were in talks with him.

"Many BPOs in Pune, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Bangalore and Chennai are interacting with us for installing the new system."

Earlier this month, a Wipro call centre employee in Pune was found raped and murdered by her cab driver. Her body was recovered off the Mumbai-Pune Express Highway. Two people were arrested for the alleged rape.

Last year, a Bangalore-based woman employee had faced a similar fate and the culprit was again the cab driver.

Nampoothiri said there were six reasons for delay in arriving in office or reaching home - traffic, mechanical failure, diversion from original path (indicator of a possible crime), bad health, accident and delay by staff.

"Our system has a data base of thousands of hospitals across the country and this can help employees and companies rush them to a nearby hospital in case of emergency," said the analyst, who was in Delhi to interact with some leading BPO firms in the national capital region.

When asked about false alerts and subsequent chaos that the system may create, the analyst said: "Since these employees are young, you can expect them to ignore messages but they will be on their toes. Due to their negligence, the system may sound 90 percent false alerts but the remaining 10 percent will be of great help."

Besides, he said: "It's better to be on alert always that let a crime happen."

The analyst, who has been associated with the industry for 16 years, said the cost of installing the system could be around 350 per person per month.

"If a company wants to install the system with speech detectors, the cost will be more. A speech detector could translate at least 10 languages and scores of regional accents into English. This will help in deciphering the voice and language of a cab driver and employees," said Nampoothiri, who is currently associated with the software firm LatticeBridge in Chennai.
Source: IANS
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