Poynt Corporation and the Missing Children Society of Canada (MCSC) have gone live with their previously announced geo-targeted notification system to push Child Search Alerts to Poynt users globally. Child Search Alerts are available to Poynt users on BlackBerry smartphones, iPhone and Android devices, putting the ability to stop child abductions directly into the hands of people while they are going about their day.
Judy Peterson, mother of Lindsey Nicholls, advocates for technology that will help in the recovery of missing children. Lindsey vanished on August 2, 1993 on her way to visit friends in Comox Valley and has not been seen or heard from since. Unfortunately, her story is not uncommon as more than 50,000 children are reported missing in Canada every year.
“The concept of reaching out to all Poynt users in a specific region and being able to ask for their help is amazing. I can’t help thinking that if this technology existed 18 years ago when my 14-year old daughter vanished, we would have had answers,” said Ms. Peterson. “The contrast between the power of this technology and my desperate search using the telephone and trekking around town with my stack of homemade posters and roll of scotch tape is overwhelming. Parents will have the comfort of knowing they are not searching alone and that there are millions of people out there who care and will now have the ability to actively help find their child.”
A first-of-its-kind geo-targeted notification system through a mobile app, Poynt will assist in the timely location and recovery of missing or abducted children. When a child goes missing or new information on their whereabouts is received, time is of the utmost importance. By pushing geo-relevant Child Search Alerts to Poynt users already in the vicinity of a missing child, Poynt and MCSC will be able to quickly disseminate important information to aid in the recovery of missing children. The Child Search Alerts will direct Poynt users to a mobile website where they can view information about the missing child including pictures, a physical description, background details, information about other potential people who are with the child, as well as the areas where the child is thought to be located.
The Missing Children Society of Canada, a registered Canadian charity, will enter information that will create a child search alert containing timely information on a missing child which will in turn be sent to Poynt users in a specified geographic area. Poynt users will then be notified via push notification that a child has been potentially sighted within a relevant radius of where they were last sighted. Users do not have to be using Poynt at the time to receive a notification; notifications will be made based on the Poynt users last known location. On iPhone, a pop-up dialogue will appear notifying the user that a missing child might be in their area. On Android and BlackBerry smartphones a notification icon will appear at the top of the phone. The system will have an opt-out option which can be found in the menu on each device.
“Being socially responsible and giving back to our community is an important part of how we feel we can make an impact. We value our families and locating missing children is a cause near and dear to us,” said Andrew Osis, President and CEO of Poynt Corp. “The capabilities of our location technology to target an area at a critical moment where a child’s life can be saved, is the perfect fit for us. The addition of Child Search Alerts enables our users to positively impact their communities in a simple yet highly effective manner, and that really has a greater societal impact.”
“We know that this push system will bring children home,” said Amanda Pick, Executive Director of MCSC. “Being able to immediately engage people in a pin-pointed area where we are conducting an investigation or where a missing child has recently been sighted is a game-changer in the search for missing children.”
“Increasingly, our investigators are working parental abduction cases that cross international borders,” continued Pick. “The ability to connect with Poynt’s existing, engaged 10 million users around the world is a huge asset to our investigation team. Most importantly, it’s a huge asset to our searching families.”
“Whether a child has been missing for 5 minutes or 5 years, communicating time-sensitive information in a case’s breakthrough moment is going to make the difference in bringing that child back to safety.”
Founded in 1986, MCSC is the only non-profit organization in Canada that has an in-house team of former law enforcement investigators that actively search for missing children. If you have seen Lindsey Nicholls or know of her whereabouts, please call 1 (800) 661 6160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.