Pronounced ‘Wepa’, Uepaa is an award winning outdoor safety app which can save lives. With the help of this app you can be sure of your safety when outdoors, especially up in the mountains. Uepaa connects you to a worldwide safety network.
Uepaa has won several awards including World summit Award 2013. It was also nominated for GSMA Mobile Awards in the ‘Most Innovative App’ category by Mobile World Congress 2015 which was held in Barcelona.
A Bit About Uepaa’s History
Uepaa is developed with famed Swiss precision in close collaboration with REGA, Swisscom, Mammut and Bergportal. It uses a disruptive wireless phone to phone (mesh-) P2P communication technology developed by ETH Zurich to convert the smartphones of its users who are outdoors, into tracking, alerting and rescue device. It was launched in year 2013 as a spinoff from a decade of research at ETH Zurich.
Mathias Haussman who is the CEO of Uepaa founded Uepaa AG in January 2012. Frank Legendre a researcher at ETH joined Haussman as the cofounder of Uepaa AG. Free Uepaa App was in the market in July 2013. Haussman has a personal connection to the App.
Mathias Haussman, a young father was enjoying the powdered snow with his skiing buddy in November 2010. He gave his wife the mobile phone number of his skiing buddy. “She felt reassured knowing I wasn’t on my own should something happen,” Haussmann recalled.
Once back at home he started thinking about how important the buddy support was and how a similar technological safeguard could be provided to everyone who loves outdoors and ventures out on his own. Haussman started searching for the right technology and he reached PodNet website. He came in contact with researchers and met Bernhard Plattner, a professor of computer engineering at the ETH Zurich. “We were soon on the same wavelength, since the PodNet approach seemed ideal for maintaining communication in remote areas without access to a mobile network,” Plattner says. Haussman found the right technology and soon Uepaa was in the App stores.
How does Uepaa work ?
Once you install Uepaa, it acts as a router. It connects and conveys messages from one ‘sender’ device to another ‘recipient’ device found in the area. When there is no network in the mountains, phones create a network using mobile phone to mobile phone connection if installed with Uepaa.
All you need to do when outdoors is to keep Uepaa app running all the time on your phone. It helps you stay safe and enables other Uepaa users to stay safe too. Your phone could become instrumental in someone else’s rescue. When filling in your profile, put in detailed information. When you are in trouble, the more information your rescuers have about you, the better. The emergency numbers, your blood group details, the place you plan to visit and the route you would be taking when outdoors – the details can all be fed into the app. The app has a smart 24 hour location engine that keeps working battery-efficiently in the background. It keeps logging your last known position. That is how when outdoors your position is constantly relayed to Uepaa centres.
If a Uepaa user is a hiking enthusiast and is unfortunately missing during one of his treks, you can contact Uepaa emergency centers and tell them about the missing person. Uepaa emergency services will tap the networks to locate the last point on the trek he or she had mobile network access at and the last position when he or she was in the vicinity of any other Uepaa user and generate the data. Equipped with the data Uepaa emergency centres along with emergency search and air rescue teams can then trace the missing person even if he or she is not able to send distress signals or is not visibly in contact and is outside the mobile network range. He or she can be then traced and rescued with the help of Uepaa equipped helicopter.
Premium version of the app has sensitive accident detection feature which senses if you are in trouble and sends out alerts for help to other users and to the emergency contacts on its own. The buddy aid feature also in the premium version of the app, immediately sends out first aid requests to other Uepaa users in the vicinity and in the range. There are internal alarms that check on you at specified intervals and if you don’t respond, alerts are sent to your emergency contacts and to other Uepaa users in vicinity. Remote tracking facility enables your loved ones to keep a check on you when you are busy summiting the snow covered hills.
You can use the app in the city too when you feel unsafe. If you get lost or are trapped in bad weather you can press the alarm and the rescue mechanism will come alive. The alarm you send will be picked up by other Uepaa users in the area as soon as they come into the range and it will be relayed to the network and forwarded to the Uepaa emergency centres. These emergency centers have your details and those details are passed on to the emergency services that then come and rescue you. Your emergency contacts will be notified, they are given access to all available data.
Uepaa has an additional voice capturing feature which automatically switches on when you press the alarm. It automatically records your voice when you press alert to keep you extra safe. This feature is very helpful when the user is involved in any kind of unfortunate accident or a kidnapping.
If you want to retrace your footsteps you can do so with the help of Uepaa app as it provides you to mark your trail – way points, at regular intervals when you go off the grid into unchartered territories. You can thus create tracks on the go and refer to the details whenever you need to.
When outdoors, if you want to make an urgent phonecall and you are out of the mobile network coverage area, you don’t need to fret. Uepaa will show you the last point you had good access to the mobile network. It will also show you how to get to that point from where you can make the urgent call. It stores all the data as you go along the trek.
More than an app
Uepaa is more than an app. It is a 24 x 7 emergency center. There are professionals at the Uepaa emergency centres you can talk to any day, at anytime when you or your loved one is in trouble. The emergency details you submit into the app are shared with your loved ones and with search and rescue teams when needed. All you need to do when outdoors is to keep Uepaa app running all the time on your phone. It helps you stay safe and enables other Uepaa users to stay safe too. Your phone could become helpful in someone else’s rescue. When filling in your profile, put in detailed information. When you are in trouble, the more information your rescuers have about you, the better.
Uepaa has a list of more than 450 rescue partners associated with them. It has consistently been working with rescue teams in emergency situations. Uepaa’s product team recently demoed their product at Aviemore, Scotland at the world renowned UK & Irish Mountain Rescue Conference where it was received very well. The app is available for download in Germany, France, Austria, Italy, UK and Ireland.