Airtel’s mLocator service seeks to help you out during emergencies

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Last month, Airtel Kenya announced a partnership with Gecko Landmarks Ltd to offer a text based location service dubbed mLocator to all its customers. The service enable customers to locate friends and family using an SMS short code.  Does that sound like what Twitter is working on to help with emergency situations too?

Everybody in Kenya was in complete shock when the news broke out about the terrorist attack in Westgate shopping mall on 21 September. Automatic reaction for most people was to find out where their loved ones, relatives and friends were and make sure they were safe. If you didn’t get a hold of the person, you tried again until you got the response. The ones who were at the Westgate mall tried to call and send SMSes to alert other people to help them and inform about the situation without exposing themselves to terrorists in the mall.

Airtel mLocator allows you to prepare yourself better for this kind of situations:

  • Instantly locate your family members and close friends. By sending a message using the word FIND followed by nickname will enable you to receive the location of the other person instantly. This way you will be able to find out the location very fast and without any disruptions to the other person. You can have instant peace of mind and ability to react quickly if something needs to be done. To activate the service you need to receive locating rights beforehand. To do that, send a short message using the word FIND followed by the phone number and nickname to 30100 e.g. FIND 073xxxxx Lisa. After Lisa gives you locating rights by replying YES to a message from the service, you will receive her location. Afterwards FIND Lisa is sufficient to receive her location immediately.
  • Help me – alert with your location can be sent conveniently to pre-selected people instantly. In the event that you are in danger, there might be little time to call or send SMSes. By sending SOS to 30100 you alert pre-selected people that you need help and tell them your location. Instead of calling and sending several SMSes, you only need to send one SMS and several people can receive information that you are in trouble and your location. All your pre-selected persons get your alert message immediately and can react quickly so that help can be delivered as soon as possible. All you need to do to have this service ready is give locating rights to pre-selected people who you think could assist you in case of a distressful situation. Please request these people to send FIND followed by your phone number to 30100, after which you need to respond YES to allow them to locate you.

The above service features can also assist you in more ordinary life situations where help is needed or if you just need to find out the location of the other person for peace of mind. Service has been made affordable at just Kshs 10 per SMS.