If you recall, yesterday we mentioned the program that Monclair State University has implemented. For a quick refresher, they gave all incoming freshman a cellphone that comes equipped with a GPS tracker. Sounds a little Big Brother-ish, right? Well not really. I had a chat with an MSU employee who gave me the full rundown of the program and how amazingly awesome it is. Hit the jump to get the full scoop.
The entire system is an opt-in system. So you have to opt-in for the GPS to be enabled, then the individual GPS features are also opt-in. So nobody has to be tracked, ever.
One of the safety features that was explained in a 15-minute Guardian. So for example if you are drunkenly stumbling back to your dorm room and concerned about getting mugged, simply enable the Guardian feature on your phone. A little blip of you will pop up at the police station and the Guardian will remain on for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes it will remind you to turn the Guardian off. If you don't because you were mugged, beaten, passed out, etc, the police will call the phone and also go to your location to find out what the problem was.
While the safety features are great. The social networking features of the GPS unit are what makes the program really shine my eyes and probably popular with the college kids. Using web-based software you can create special social groups and allow other people to see your location whenever you would like by enabling the GPS tracking. This could be especially convenient trying to meet up on campus for studying, or better yet, meeting up at the bars.
There are a wide variety of Nextel-based phones available and the basic plan costs are included in tuition and fees. So it may feel like it is a free phone, but you will be paying for it in the future. All-in-all this is an extremely handy system that can provide safety and fun for students. Good job, MSU.