We’ve all been in a situation where it just doesn’t feel right. You might be working late and there’s a long dark barren walk to your car alone or even walking home after a night out with friends. There might even be no one around but shadows play tricks on you and peace of mind for you and your loved ones is really important.
Enter Optus with a new innovation called “Sidekick". This new tile on the My Optus App is part of the Optus Living network. With it, you can nominate 3 of your closest contacts to call you if you don’t respond after clicking it. It’s essentially the digital age’s version of “call me so I know you got home ok”.
It’s a really great concept and It feels like now more than ever something like this is necessary,
Kate Brodie, Director of Digital AI and CCAI Program at Optus says ”Sidekick is one of our latest innovative new products that we've brought to life where it's really designed to give more Australians a bit more confidence and reassurance when they're out and about. And so it's really about enabling people to connect”.
When asked about the history of the concept Kate says
“so this really was a passion project for a group of people from across the organization of objects that don't necessarily work together every day, so it kind of was something that started off as just a little bit of an idea and a chat around the office when we were when we weren't in lockdown.”
Currently, the app is in beta on IOS but there are plans to bring the feature to Android devices in the future and even a possibility of developing versions for other platforms like Apple Car Play or Android Auto. It’s important that the feature is fully tested first though Kate explains
“we really want to get this right. It was to actually ensure that we're targeting one place that we put the app really working with people on what they want to see and then extending that road map, including going into Android and already the feedbacks been so great that it's a given and so we look forward to bringing that to more of our customers soon.”
There are many use cases for an app like Sidekick from jogging at night to the kids walking home from school. But as Kate points out
“I think that it is another tool in the toolkit, a bit of reassurance, and we love to see how people use it. But obviously, as as we all know if there's an emergency, we definitely encourage people to dial 000”
If nothing else it’s really a perfect reminder to also check in on people in your community who might be vulnerable.
Together we can all strive to make the world a better, safer place bringing back old neighbourhood ideals through the latest technology.