Can I get a witness?

April 14, 2016

This post submitted by Aaron Stelle, Director of Marketing Technology for WFG National Title Company in Portland, Oregon.

With Realtor safety becoming increasingly important due to the tragic incidents over the last few years, agents have been looking for simple ways keep themselves out of harms way. Enter the Witness App.

While wearable trackers, jewelry, defense classes, and the like can help at times, there is one common theme with most Realtors. They never go anywhere without their phone! What Witness does is allows you to notify a group of contacts that you are having an emergency by simply holding a button on your screen. It’s a self proclaimed ‘panic button for the smartphone age’.

Here is how it works:

The first thing you do is open the simple setup screen where you input your information and add the contact information for any of your contacts that you want to be notified if there is an emergency. This will work best if it’s a name and phone number.

Then, when you have the app open, you will see a very simple screen with a circle. If you touch the screen, it will turn red and start a 3 second countdown. Once the red line disappears a series of things happen. First, the Witness App will enable your camera, microphone, and also pull your location. The emergency contacts that you have added to the app will receive an automated phone call that says, “follow the link on your text message to track this incident in real-time.” They will also receive a text message that will direct them back to the Witness website.

Once on the website your emergency contacts can watch and listen to the video as it is happening, see exactly where it is happening on a map, as well as a full log file of the events.

Unfortunately at this time there is no way to access the app in the lock screen, so using this app will take a change in your behavior. If you are meeting someone at a house, in an unfamiliar location, or just in an area where you don’t feel safe, I recommend having the app open with your thumb ready to touch the screen. This way, all you need to do is touch the screen and your contacts will be notified. You can also then tell any potential threat that you are currently live streaming a video of them, and the location out to your contacts which has the potential to act as a deterrent.

Regardless of whether you’re working, or just in a strange situation, having the app on your phone and setup can give you the piece of mind that your friends and family will be notified immediately if anything starts to go awry.