KARACHI: You can now avoid any possible disasters or mishaps such as earthquakes or robberies and let your dear ones know about your vulnerability as two assistant professors of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (Fuuast) have come up with a new mobile application, named 'Disaster Management Mobile Application'.
The launching ceremony of the application was held at the varsity's Abdul Qadeer Khan Auditorium on Wednesday. The application is available on the Android operating system. Bahria Town has funded the venture.
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"We came up with the idea when we saw that how mobile applications have been successful in shopping, health and education sectors," said Kamran Ahsan, an assistant professor at the computer science department of the university. He, along with his colleague, Farhan Shafiq, is the brains behind the project.
"This application will have 10 options about emergency situations and, after downloading the application, the user can save options on his own for earthquake, heart attack or robbery," said Ahsan, while giving a presentation on the application.
Explaining the mobile app, he said that after downloading and setting the situations, this application will be open 24 hours and, whenever the user is in any kind of problem, he can use the code words that he has set. For example, bhai mat karo [brother, don't], mere ghar se jao [leave my home] can be used for any pre-defined situation that he has already set on the app. After speaking the code words aloud twice, the application will send an alert message and call to the numbers saved in the application to inform them that the user is in a vulnerable situation. He compared his new application with the American Red Cross' Earthquake application and said that if the people of Karachi will use this app, it will be considered successful.
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He pointed out that due to lack of latest computers, the researchers faced problems. "The work, which can be done in one month, was done in six months because the computers were old," he said. He also requested the cellular companies to provide this application to their users for free.
Memorandum of Understanding
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has also been signed between the Fuuast and Bahria Town. Under this, Bahria Town will fund further research work done by the university by using mobile technology. "Bahria Town will fund a new Disaster Management Research Centre inside the university that will soon be functional," announced Zain Malik, the vice-chief executive at Bahria Town.
During his speech, Malik said that his organisation is interested in working in Pakistan. He also handed a cheque of Rs1 million to the staff of the university for the new research centre.
Speaking on the occasion, the vice-chancellor of Fuuast, Prof Dr Suleiman D Muhammad, praised the efforts of his faculty. "We have to make our national institutions strong, because the nation can only become strong if the institutions are strong," he said. He also announced a donation of Rs1 million for the computer science department from the university's end.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2015.