Most of us outdoor enthusiasts love to adventure out in the "no service" zone at least once in awhile. Although being disconnected can be great, it also means help is not always close by if something were to happen. You could buy an emergency satellite messenger, such as SPOT or InReach, but the device cost and annual service fees can be pricey. Swiss company Uepaa! is instead looking to turn your own phone into an emergency messenger and full on emergency network.
By simply downloading the Uepaa! app, your phone automatically creates a network between other phones within range. In case of emergency, your exact location is relayed back through this network until there is mobile coverage, where it is then sent to the 24/7 emergency center. This way, your exact position can be known and sent to rescue services, even from places in the no service zone.
For a daily ($3), monthly ($15), or annual ($70) fee, the Premium Buddy Aid and Accident Detection features can detect when there is an emergency, as the software recognizes extended periods of inactivity. If you fail to react to your phone's alerts within 5 minutes, your phone will automatically request help from users nearby or alert the Emergency Center. The Premium Remote Tracking feature lets you share your live route with family and friends, including from places with no network coverage.
The Uepaa! system depends heavily on you being within range of another cell phone user (and that user to have the Uepaa! app) when you are out adventuring in the no service zone. This may be feasible in heavily trafficked areas such as the Alps or Yosemite but probably a bit more difficult in more remote places like Alaska.
The company is planning some sort of range multiplier hardware, however, and the base app includes a map with waypoints back to where you last had good cell coverage which can be helpful. Uepaa! have rolled out the service in Switzerland to start, with plans to scale to other countries in the near future.