Report It Case Study
11 Jun 2019 | Written by Mark Maydon
Supercharging the new report it® mobile platform
Leading US community engagement platform, report it®, turned to Crowd Connected for an advanced geofencing solution to underpin their new mobile app service
Founded in 1999, report it® has become the most reputable and trusted provider of anonymous hotline and tip line services in the USA. report it® enables crowd sourced intelligence to be quickly and efficiently routed to relevant personnel in any organisation – for example to security, facilities, safety operations or other staff.
report it® instantly creates the capability for members of any community to become human alarms by anonymously providing important information. Today report it® services extend to public and private companies, government agencies and municipalities, schools, colleges and universities, medical and financial institutions and more.
The free-to-use report it® mobile app makes it easy for individuals to report a concern at a moment’s notice, at anytime from anywhere. App users are able to send relevant information, including a photo or video, to the proper participating organisation within a specified area or jurisdiction direct from their smartphone. Importantly, this information is delivered in real time and is always on an anonymous, confidential and secure basis.
Meeting the business need
The senior management team at report it® recognised that the evolving complexities of today’s threat environment require a more collaborative and integrated approach to public safety. It is an environment in which community sourced information is more important than ever.
The report it® team wanted to enhance the features of their established mobile app. The app already connected users dynamically to the appropriate reporting organisation based upon location and nature of concern. Now the requirement was for additional functionality that would maintain users’ anonymity, but simultaneously allow those individuals to receive important safety messages and other mass notifications – crucially using sophisticated location-based criteria to deliver tight targeting.
As an example, report it® wanted the ability to send a notification to those report it® app users who were in a certain location between specified dates/times, and had previously visited and/or exhibited a certain dwell pattern (hence were considered to have familiarity with the locality). Such an audience geo-segment build would enable a report it® notification to be sent out on a hyper targeted basis, with the message requesting a response if the recipient had further information relevant to an incident that occurred in that locality.
This level of sophisticated geo-targeting avoids ‘spamming’ notifications to individuals within an organisation’s database who could not have witnessed the incident because they weren’t at the location at the relevant time.
In summary, report it® required next generation geofencing to enable hyper targeted notifications.
Crowd Connected’s Colocator platform was chosen after extensive evaluation by report it® to deliver this enhanced location capability. Colocator was selected because:
- Only a very straightforward integration of proven, robust and lightweight iOS and Android SDKs is required, which enables a quick, reliable deployment.
- The technology is designed to work continually, tracking users while apps are in the ‘background’ (e.g. while the phone is not in hand and is not being used), as opposed to ‘foreground only’ (when users are actively interacting with the app on screen).
- While some mobile location platforms are little more than an SDK wrapper around the operating system location manager, Colocator provides a cloud-based location data store and processing platform. It retains full location data histories as long as they are needed, enabling a granular level of reporting, such as entries, exits and dwell times for any area or group of areas over any time.
- It provides an intuitive map-based interface enabling unlimited geofences of any shape and size to be quickly drawn up (and amended/added/deleted as required at any time). Where large quantities of geofences are required, these can readily be imported into the Colocator platform rather than being individually drawn on screen.
- A seamless integration with existing report it® back-end could be easily facilitated via APIs. That mean geo-targeted push notifications could be compiled, sent from and reported on via the report it® dashboard, using the Colocator software to provide the audience geo-segment qualifiers.
New iOS and Android versions of the report it® mobile app were released with Crowd Connected’s Colocator code embedded into both versions of the app. The report it® development team was provided with low level access to the Colocator platform via fully documented APIs, enabling seamless data transfer between the two systems.
Once the simple task of creating regions (i.e. geofences, defined geographic areas) on the Colocator web console is completed for any specific report it® deployment, the report it® platform is able to request which report it® app users meet location-based criteria, on a fully anonymised basis. In real-time Colocator returns the results via API, enabling best-in-class geo-targeted for report it®’s new mass notification feature.
Unlike typical geofencing solutions, Colocator supports complex visit-based queries and triggers.
Benefitting from Colocator’s historic ‘where and when’ filters (so not just limited to where an app user is currently located), report it® are able to request sophisticated audience segment builds matching very specific geo-behaviour.
As a result, report it® can trigger push messages to certain app users who meet complex location-based rules and have provided permission to be contacted in this way. As an example, the Colocator integration allows report it® to target a push message to people seen in location A this morning, and who have never visited location B, as they enter location C.
All licensees of the report it® platform can now benefit from this superior geo-targeting via a simple-to-use cloud-based dashboard. This enables notifications to be easily created, scheduled and sent to all qualifying devices – providing a new level of alert communication.
We knew we needed best-in breed geo-location technology to complement our anonymous reporting technology. This was not only initially, to power our new mass notifications feature, but also to enable our mobile platform to become increasingly location smart as we add AI capabilities. Crowd Connected’s fantastic location intelligence software has delivered exactly what we wanted, smoothly integrating into our service. We are now looking forward to expanding our collaboration with Crowd Connected over the coming months and years. Raymond Sobieski, co-founder of Report it®