Sure, every app developer dreams of creating an addictive blockbuster app that hooks users, but what about something useful? Or better yet: what about an app that saves lives? We have all seen the horrifying images of Houston and nearby Texas towns transformed by Hurricane Harvey into a watery wasteland. We have also been inspired by the stories of indomitable communities rallying together to rescue those in danger and face the hardships the storm brought. Now Florida is bracing for another storm, Irma, with many parts of the state evacuating to prevent a Harvey-sized disaster.
But there’s an app that has been helping those in need to weather the storm: Zello. The communications app is reporting 6 million new users in the run-up to Irma. Founded in 2012, the walkie-talkie-like app allows users to talk over public channels, as long as they have access to WiFi or cellular data. People in the areas affected by the storm are finding the app extremely useful for passing along important and potentially life-saving information, such as makeshift shelter locations, tornado warnings, hospital accessibility, and safety tips. App admins are spreading information on power outages and wind speeds. It is incredibly affecting for app developers to listen in on the channel. Zello is helping communities survive.
Zello’s usefulness has helped it ascend the ranks in the Apple App Store, where it is currently the number one free app. CEO Bill Morris claims that the app has been downloaded by one million new users a day since last Monday. Houston app developers saw Zello at work during not just Harvey, but storms past, when groups like so-called Cajun Navy saved lives by broadcasting up-to-the-minute information. It’s not just storms: Zello has proven its usefulness in the protests and general upheaval in Egypt and now Venezuela. Its a powerful example of how a relatively simple app idea can create security and community in times of chaos.Tags: app developer, app developers Houston, app development, app store, app store downloads, apple app store, Bill Morris, Egypt, emergency apps, emergency technology, free apps, Houston app development, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, hurricanes, mobile app news, power outages, protest, safety, security, storm, Venezuela, walkie-talkie app, Zello