By By Wang Qian | China Daily Global
To offer better protection, some technology companies are looking for a way to develop or expand tools that highlight women's safety.
In Beijing on Jan 10, China's smart jewelry brand Totwoo launched a kit called Safety, which is expected to combat assaults on women in the country.
If the user feels threatened, pressing the button for four seconds will activate the device that will start recording for 10 seconds. Within 50 seconds, the device will telephone and send text messages to three emergency contacts to alert them, providing a location, first-aid information and audio recordings.
Once a contact responds, the device vibrates and lights up to inform the user. The user can disable the alarm by pressing the button three times in succession.
Around the diameter of a bottle cap, the waterproof piece of jewelry can be attached to a bag, a key or even worn as a necklace.
"In Chinese culture, certain jewelry is sometimes worn as an emblem of safety. Our product brings some truth to that," says Wang Jieming, who founded Totwoo in 2015.
It makes sense that the company decided to model the trinket in the shape of an apple, the name of which in Chinese is pingguo, sharing the same pronounced ping as ping'an, the Chinese word for "safety".
Cooperating with China Mobile, the small core module uses a remote SIM, bypassing the need for a physical SIM card. It has certified wireless-charging technology similar to the system used by Apple. Supporting navigation systems such as GPS, Beidou and GSM base station positioning, it can provide accurate location information.
Xin Yang, head of the International Security Defense College in Beijing, a private security training school established in 2011, says an independent device can enhance women's safety in an emergency, because "mobile phones are often the first item an assailant will attempt to snatch or destroy".
Reports of females being attacked while out running, taking a taxi or traveling alone have stoked fear and anxiety among women.
According to the World Health Organization, one in three women worldwide have experienced sexual or physical violence in their lives.
According to a 2019 study by the nonprofit Stop Street Harassment, 68 percent of women in the United States reported being harassed in public spaces like streets, trails and parks.
In 2018, Didi Chuxing, China's leading ride-hailing online platform, came under scrutiny after two female passengers in China were killed by the drivers, raising public concern not just over women's safety, but loopholes in the company's driver vetting system.
Late last year, Didi relaunched its Hitch carpooling service, with improved safety features and more rigorous mechanisms for driver and passenger verification. The service allows registered car owners to accept rides each day along preset routes.
Didi has upgraded its existing emergency button to allow users to make a one-click call to police. For long-distance rides, the app records audio during journeys. Daily facial recognition protocol for drivers is also being implemented. Drivers are also required to complete a "safety knowledge test" every day before they start picking up passengers.
With such improved safety features, it will be the test bed for a women's safety program that Didi intends to roll out to other services, the company says.
As well as the platform's efforts, the market for safety wearables, while not a new one, is growing. Whether it's a watch, pendant or ring, the chances are that a woman will have one about her person, meaning potentially dangerous situations can be avoided or alleviated with the quick press of a button.