Dr. Ashok Agrawala Honored with VITA™ Wireless Samaritan Award

Aug 02, 2012

In recognition for creating "Escort-M", a virtual campus safety app, Dr. Ashok Agrawala was honored by The Wireless Foundation and CTIA with a VITA™ Wireless Samaritan Award at the 18th Annual Achievement Awards dinner on July 23.

The "Escort-M" app was developed by Dr. Agrawala and his team in collaboration with the university's Department of Public Safety. The app provides real-time audio, video and location information from a University of Maryland user's wireless device to public safety personnel, enabling dispatchers to respond to an emergency situation more effectively. Anyone with a university ID can download the application and transmit audio and video to the Public Safety dispatcher, who will be able to locate the person through the phone's built-in locator tool (using GPS or cell tower triangulation).

The app, the first of its kind in the world, is a culmination of several years of research in wireless communications by Dr. Agrawala's Maryland Information and Network Dynamics (MIND) Lab. It has resulted in the decrease of background electronic "noise" in wireless systems that previously made it difficult to pinpoint precise locational data.