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Handset-makers welcome govt move to make panic button mandatory

OUR BUREAU

New Delhi, April 26

The mobile handset manufacturers have welcomed the Centre's decision to make it mandatory for products to have panic button and GPS.

Some of the players expect to start launching such handsets in the next two months. Domestic handset makers such as Micromax and Karbonn Mobiles said that they are already working on such features.


The Department of Telecom in a Gazette notification dated April 22 said that effective January 2017, mobile phones without facility of panic button by pressing ‘numeric key - 5’ or ‘numeric key - 9’ to invoke emergency call cannot be sold.

Also, from January 2018, mobile handset manufactures will be able to sell their products in India only if the product has the emergency feature that enables identifying the location through satellite-based GPS.

The decision was taken keeping mind safety of women.

“Karbonn Mobiles has already been working on developing SOS app for women which we would be unveiling over the next few months. These features are not just useful in times of distress but would also help in ensuring safety even when the user is not vulnerable safeguarding them from potential threats,” the company said.

Alert messages

It said this safety app would allow users to send alert messages to emergency contacts with a single tap on home screen, share their location to select contacts at a predefined time or distance automatically, enabling their emergency contacts to keep tab on the users location in realtime and also raise and send alarms discreetly by simply shaking the device without the need to unlock the screen.

The company said the mobile SOS app could also be used by educational institutions or corporate houses for ensuring safety of its female students and employees, respectively, as the app could be set to transmit a message once a person reaches a pre-assigned destination (home/ office/ school).

Atul Jain, Chief Operating Officer (Smart Electronic Devices), LeEco India, said the company's phones are already GPS-enabled as it is an important requirement for all mobile phones in today’s time and age.

“I am sure that the industry will work together towards the compliance of this norm, creating relevant technologies which will ensure that all phones become acquiescent. Additionally, the manufacturers of feature phones will have to ensure that the pricing is right, otherwise it can turn out to be the only pain point for the upgrade,” he added.

Micromax also said the company is already making an endeavour to comply ahead of time.

“We all understand that mobile handsets are all pervasive and the ideal information technology device for the vast Indian population. It was extremely important that we come up with a very simple solution both for feature phones and smartphones, so simple that anyone can understand it. The final result is simple and this mobile solution will be understood by all,” Pankaj Mohindroo, National President, Indian Cellular Association, said.