How We Built Emergency App For Students: Knightly Case Study

2 min read

You’re not going to win any prizes for predicting that college students find themselves in awkward and sometimes even dangerous situations on an all too regular basis (but, seriously, who didn’t have fun during their college years!?).

Whether it’s emulating crazy Internet challenges or hosting drunken parties only to prepare for an exam just in the nick of time, it’s well known that students tend to push their luck more often than adults.

When you’re walking home alone at the crack of dawn, the odds of winding up in trouble are extremely high, especially if you live on the other side of town.

Abigael Titcomb, a young entrepreneur from Boston, has experienced this problem a couple of times herself.

She was in her second year at Northeastern University when she came up with the idea to create a personal emergency app that would provide safety to college students when they need it the most.

The concept of her startup dubbed “Knightly” is based around a thumb-drive-sized portable device with a trigger-like button and a clip.

This is what it looks like:

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The device is really simple, which is one of the reasons why it caught so much interest.

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There are two types of scenarios in which you can use Knightly. If you’re feeling uncomfortable for some reason, just slide the button once and the iOS app will send a text message with your current location to a preset emergency contact (you can specify any one).

At the same time, if you know you’re in danger, slide the button and hold it in that position for three seconds. Knightly will instantly notify campus security and an officer will be dispatched to your location.


Abigael contacted us to build an iOS app to pair with the device. Additionally, she needed a user-friendly dashboard from which the whole system could be managed.

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The app development process was not much of a concern to us since we had full confidence in our technical and management abilities.

So once the brief research part was done, the rest of the work passed with flying colors. This was partly because we were able to completely understand the requirements of the iOS app and ultimately deliver the expected result.

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Abigael’s feedback:

Although I came to JetRuby with solely user stories and a very tight budget, they worked with me extensively to generate an amazing prototype spec that met all my needs and a development plan that worked for me.

I have experienced nothing but great work ethic, reliability, high-quality code, and much-needed helpfulness. They use the most up to date technology and are pros at finding the best solutions for your technical problems — all at an unbeatable value.

JetRuby isn’t just another development agency, they are a highly skilled and business savvy team of developers who will deliver exceptional work and creative problem-solving for a great price. Working with the team now to develop user stories for next round! Excited to get started!

The opportunity to build an emergency app for Abigael wasn’t just another piece of experience on how to better use this or that technology or approach.

No, it was much more than that.

Abigael gave us a unique opportunity to contribute to a solution that saves people’s lives, literally.

After all, there is nothing more valuable in this world than a person’s life. And so it happened that students are exposed to various risks more than older people. Having Knightly installed on their phones, they can now feel more secure.

We’re extremely grateful to Abigael that she chose us as her partner to implement the idea of Knightly. We also hope that her example will inspire and encourage other young entrepreneurs and simply inspire people, who want to change this world for the better.

As Chauncey Depew, a famous American politician, once said: “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are”.

Technologies we used:

  • Ruby on Rails
  • ES6
  • ReactJS
  • Redux
  • Google Maps
  • PostgreSQL
  • UIKit
  • CoreBluetooth
  • Foundation
  • AddressBook
  • AFNetworking
  • ReactiveCocoa
  • MBProgressHUD
  • IQKeyboardManager
  • Fabric
  • Crashlytics
  • SDWebImage
  • Mixpanel
  • Twilio

Knightly Twitter — https://twitter.com/knightly_app

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