The creators of a new student-designed app are hoping to make staying safe on campus as easy as turning on your smartphone.
Brothers Chris and Dave Sinkinson teamed up with the Queen’s Campus Safety Working Group to develop SeQure, a free downloadable app that allows students to access Campus Security resources via the iTunes App Store and Google Play.
Roxy Denniston-Stewart, associate dean of student affairs, said creating the app has been a part of Queen’s long-term goal to increase security measures and safety in and around campus.
“We’re looking at vehicles and programs that would best meet our mandate in promoting safety and security,” she said. “The app was decided upon because it was convenient and in a format students use.”
As well as providing access to Queen’s Security resources such as phone numbers and a map of the blue lights on campus, the app has a feature that pin-points a student’s location to other people the student chooses to inform.
It also includes a safety toolbox, with a flashlight and alarm.
“The goal is that every student will download it,” she said.
David Patterson, director of Queen’s Campus Security, said the app wasn’t created in response to a need to increase security.
“The app is another platform to raise awareness of the variety of safety resources on campus,” he said.
The Sinkinson brothers held a limited launch of the app in August to members of the Queen’s Campus Safety Working Group.
Currently, iPhone and Android-compatible versions of SeQure are now available for download.
A limited version of the app will become available for Blackberry users in late September.
Students without smartphones can access the same information on the Queen’s Campus Security website.
The Working Group received a Campus Women’s Safety Grant of $5,825 that covered the cost of development and maintenance of the app over a three-year period, with the Sinkinson brothers receiving a total of $2,500 for its development.
While Chris Sinkinson, CompSci ‘03 and MBA ‘11, developed the software for the app, his brother Dave Sinkinson, ArtSci ’11 and MBA ’12, met with the Working Group to discuss ideas and market the item.
Chris and brother Dave, a former business manager of the Journal, created Sell Books together, a mobile BuyBack app for the Queen’s Campus Bookstore, which allows students to scan barcodes for used textbooks to determine their value.
They also developed NewsApper, a mobile app for newspapers used by the Journal.
Sell Books was recently bought by the University of Toronto and California Institute of Technology bookstores.
“The big goal is that other universities will invest in these apps as well,” he said. “Right now we need to recover the time and cost we put into creating this [new] app.”
Chris hopes other universities will buy the app for their own campus security systems.
“We sold it so cheap because we both have a relationship with Queen’s,” he said. “But it’s a start up business so we were expecting that, and we do think that others could benefit from it.”
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