Tuesday, 30 January 2018 01:23

Leelou: the crucial element for 'personal safety on demand' in new app?

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Leeloo was the heroine of The Fifth Element, alongside protagonist Bruce Willis, but if you find yourself antagonised, the personal and safety app Leelou can deliver "incredibly detailed and precise information" to carers and those who need to know.

The creator of personal safety and technology app Leelou is Jerry Farsoun, and he clearly knows the importance of love in saving your own personal world.

His story is remarkable, and while he says he knows he "can't change the world", he says he's sure he can make it "a safer one", with the Leelou app set to help him achieve his goal.

The app was born in 2017, but if we rewind to 2007, we discover that a suicide attempt was the catalyst that spurred Farsoun into action.

“(The years) 06/07 were rough years”, said Farsoun candidly, “but I got through it. Then in 2008, I decided to fly around Australia in my Powerchute to help start people talking about better mental health."

We're told that Farsoun's efforts "saw him being nominated for Australian of the Year 2017 championing for the cause and after having making several short films on bullying, depression and suicide".

So, how did the idea for Leelou come into being?

Farsoun explains: "The idea for the app came to me while I was flying over Cape York. I started thinking – what would happen if my engine cut out right now, and I crashed?

"How would people, anyone, know where to find me? Feeling so alone took me back to that night in March 2007. In a way, it was a life-changing moment that became the segue that sowed the seeds for Leelou.”

Technology and financial limitations initially delayed plans for the app, but true to Farsoun's character, we're told that "he would not give up", which he clearly didn't, as 2017 was the year that Leelou arrived.

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So, what is Leelou, exactly?

Well, it is a free app, which ensures loved ones are alerted in the event of an emergency anywhere in the world with incredibly detailed and precise information.

“Leelou is not just an SOS or novelty App,” explained Farsoun. “It’s symbiosis between Personal Safety and Technology with just one purpose; to make our neighbourhoods safer by giving carers accurate information they can respond to, and fast. It really is a Personal Safety App on steroids!”

Available on the iOS App Store and Google Play, Leelou users "can add unlimited friends to their contact list and up to five are invited to be Guardians who can respond in a time of crisis".

Once the SOS button is pressed, "the guardian dashboard comes to life with other Guardians distance/position and specific response, the user’s battery level along with a real-time map and most importantly, a secure streaming audio of what’s happening where you are, nothing is left to guesswork or chance".

Farsoun said: "'Taking the call later’ because you’re in a meeting or at work is a thing of the past with ‘silent override’; nothing slips through the cracks!"

Importantly, we're also told that Leelou's privacy settings "also make it Stalker Proof".

"'Not friends' on Leelou means they won’t know your number or, where you are", which is "ideal if parental separation forms part of a Guardian network in an SOS. A child’s parents might not see eye to eye, but both want to be there in a crisis".

The Leelou site is here, with more Q&A and other information, Jerry Farsoun's site is here, and a promo video of Farsoun's record-breaking aviation achievements is below.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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