Today, startup Plerts is unveiling a service that combines accessibility, geographic location, and privacy for medical and personal safety. It’s like Foursquare meets safety alerting system Life360. Plerts allows users to privately tap into their social graph when they need extra peace of mind. You select those individuals beforehand, and they agree to be part of your alerting system. If you are in danger or miss a checkin that you set, those individuals are alerted via multiple modes (email, SMS). Plerts is launching simultaneously as a free iPhone app, a Facebook app, and as a traditional web app.
For example, if you decide to buy something on CraigsList and visit a seller’s home that is unknown to you, you could enable a Plerts alert. If you don’t check-in after the visit, Plerts will alert the member of your social graph with an alert that you are rogue. Another example is to ensure that someone is taking their medication. The user can check-in after taking the medication, thus alerting their loved ones and personal contacts that their family member has taken his or her proper medication.
Unlike 911, Plerts is designed to be preemptive to an emergency. One of themain issues with Plerts is privacy. Users may not want to tap into their social graph on Facebook, for example, and allow friends and contacts to know what your medical conditions are or who you are meeting. But with Plerts, nobody has to know where you are or what you’re doing (i.e. going on a blind date, going away on vacation) unless the unfortunate happens and you fail to check back in. Only at this point is your real-time location and personal information made available to your pre-selected contacts (which can be limited a to a few close friends or family).
While the basic service is free, Plerts offers a premium service that is $4.99 a month or $49.99 for an entire year. The company is also in discussions with universities, insurance companies, hospitals, parents’ organizations and more about partnerships and white-labeling. Plerts was co-founded by Andrew Busey, who founded Challenge Games, and previously founded and sold Pluck and iChat, and Colin Anwaty, a former iPhone gaming developer.
Plerts will face competition from other safety alerting services like Life360.