On the broad digital mobile apps market, that includes from games to coupons, the Orlando based startup company: TapShield has focused on one, designed to save lives on college campuses. TapShield’s system is the newest entry in an increasingly competitive field of campus-security apps. The free app draws on cloud-based computing, GPS and social media to give users a high-speed link to campus security, company officials say.
Its first customer, the University of Florida, has given TapShield a showcase that has caught the eye of other universities and potential corporate clients. About 10,000 University of Florida students have downloaded the Android or iPhone app since its launch in February, the company said.
Source: The Coulmbus Dispatch
A girl from University of Florida reported being pursued by a strange man, but after hiding on a parking lot, she tapped the emergency icon on her smartphone, which signaled her location to campus police and minutes later, officers arrived and caught the man as he fled.
“TapShield is definitely a state-of-the-art way to deal with all the security issues we see on college campuses these days,” said Orlando lawyer Fred Leonhardt, an early investor who is chairman of TapShield’s board. “I did some checking around, and there’s nothing out there as impressive as this app”. Its founder, Jordan Johnson, is the son of Leonhardt’s longtime friend Randy Johnson, a former GOP state legislator.
Johnson said he got the idea for TapShield while he was president of the Florida student body in 2009, when the school had a rash of attacks and robberies. He focused on mobile communications as a potential solution that would go beyond the blue-light emergency phones that are linked directly to campus police. Nobody was too impressed with his idea then, he said. Johnson recalled a meeting he attended with police and other campus-safety officials.
“At that time, I showed them a BlackBerry and told them that, one day, everybody would have these. It would be like a mobile blue-light phone people could use to alert security wherever they were,” he said. “Everybody kind of laughed. They thought I was crazy.”
Four years later, university police have embraced TapShield and after a competitive bid, the school made a contract to install the software as part of its dispatch system. Based on the Florida experience, Valencia College in Orlando is considering TapShield.