Optus says the feature was developed in response to the public clamour that people feel uneasy when alone.
When eligible customers feel they would like to be checked on, they can enter the details of up to three of their closest contacts and set a timer for when they will check in.
Optus Sidekick will send a message and inform the trusted contacts if the user has not checked-in by the chosen time. The feature will also suggest to check up on them.
Optus director digital artificial intelligence (AI) Kate Brodie says the feature was a passion project based from experience, research, and the news.
“We realised a certain sense of apprehension when out and about alone wasn’t uncommon and we wanted to give our customers just a little more peace of mind,” Brodie says.
“Many of us can identify with that feeling of wanting someone to check in with us in a little while to make sure we are okay, even if we can’t exactly pinpoint why we feel that way. It may feel awkward to ask someone for that extra assurance,” Brodie stresses.
Brodie says the feature helps users prearrange a time. People will be able to check on the user, and only gets in touch if the need arises.
“We have also discovered that it’s not just women who may want to use Optus Sidekick, but also kids walking home from school, people out for a late-night walk, and even an elderly neighbour who walks to the store alone,” Brodie says.
Optus vice president tv, content, and product development Clive Dickens is certain that the feature will be of great use to customers.
“Whether customers are home alone or when we are eventually all out and about again, Optus Sidekick puts the control of digital innovation into the hands of customers, right where Optus believes it should be,” he says.
Optus will use a beta trial of the service on iOS devices to test and learn through customer and community feedback.
Optus Sidekick is a part of the Optus Living Network, which puts customers in control of how they use and interact with Optus’ phone calls and text messages.
The Optus Living Network, launched in May 2021 is a collection of on-demand innovative network features designed to empower customers to transform their daily connected experience simply within the My Optus App.