Check-in Safe Abroad

Leader: Lauren Montague
Team: Harry Bastermajian, Carol Ann Litster, Sarah Stoll 

Project Overview:
The team at CMES is seeking to correct the challenge of supporting Harvard international scholarly travel during this time of global uncertainty, by finding ways to rapidly and effectively communicate with travelers in a crisis. Many scholars have interdisciplinary involvement with research and have multiple “homes,” making the responsibility center for their safety unclear. A more efficient way to respond to an emergency abroad that would notify multiple administrators simultaneously and automatically when travelers check in is needed, allowing the safety professionals at Harvard Global Support to concentrate their efforts in finding those that had not yet checked in.

Project Objectives:
We propose to pilot the “I’m Safe Abroad” application for smartphones, designed by a group of security experts who realized the limitations of conventional email/phone call methods in conducting emergency evacuations. The application “I'm Safe Abroad” allows travelers to check in and indicate if they are safe or need assistance, and records the individual’s GPS location. This information on all travelers is ported directly to a web based dashboard where all authorized users can check on the status simultaneously, eliminating the need for overlapping emails, confusion, lost time and duplicated effort by multiple sponsoring centers and departments.

Achievements:  The Check-in Safe Abroad team has successfully launched a pilot program. The team has purchased an unlimited license for year 2 allowing anyone at Harvard to participate through the CMES license. Improvements are being made to the application and dashboard before the release of the updated version. Once the pilot is complete the Harvard Global Security team will likely take ownership of the project with the hopes of achieving participation from all Harvard travelers.