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Guardian Circle is expanding its service to address the growing response to nationwide safety concerns for hospital and service industry workers. In a recent interview on the Pomp Podcast, Guardian Circle CEO, Mark Jeffrey, identified the nearly US $1 billion market to be targeted by the decentralized community emergency response app.

In the past decade, women employed as housekeepers, cocktail waitresses, and other service industry roles have begun to report record numbers of incidences when they feel their personal safety is at risk. A July 2016 survey in Chicago found “58% of hotel workers and 77% of casino workers surveyed have been sexually harassed by a guest.”

Across the US, so-called “panic button laws” are taking effect that requires staff are equipped with devices that allow them to signal and summon for immediate assistance when working alone. Cities such as Las Vegas, NV, Washington D.C., Long Beach, CA, Chicago, IL, and others have passed related ordinances.

In 2018, Marriott International announced plans to deploy alert devices for housekeepers and other on-property associates employed across its more than 5,000 properties. Marriott’s response was part of the hotel industry’s 5-Star Promise, which seeks to “enhance policies, trainings, and resources, including employee safety devices, that together are aimed [at] strengthening safety and security for hotel employees and guests.”

In the Pomp Podcast interview, Jeffrey noted that Guardian Circle is building upon the team’s work in the 2018 Women’s Safety XPRIZE panic device contest that opened up its API to integrate with external devices.

Current panic button solutions rely on GPS and older Bluetooth standards, yielding less than accurate results, or connectivity issues when Bluetooth devices unpair from a mobile phone. In a conversation with Neo News Today, Jeffrey said, “competitors use older Bluetooth panic buttons, which can not pinpoint an exact location. Emergency responders will have to guess the room (and floor) within a 100-foot radius.”

Guardian Circle’s solution integrates a near-field communication (NFC) sticker that is placed in each hotel room, which allows housekeeper’s phones to communicate their precise location via the Guardian Circle dApp. Additionally, Guardian Circle offers a supplementary key fob panic button device that utilizes active beacon technology, providing a primary benefit of continuous pairing with mobile devices, and maintaining a 12 to 14-month battery life.

The full Pomp Podcast interview can be found below: