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2013

Microsoft Debuts “HelpBridge” Emergency Disaster App For Android, iOS And Windows Phone

January 17, 2013 0

Redmond, Washington – The escalating problem of climate change has severely affected our weather conditions. Natural disasters are often unexpected, leaving precious little time to coordinate with loved ones. Microsoft wants to help and is making venturing into turning virtual connections into an ad-hoc disaster aid network. So, the software maker on Wednesday unveiled HelpBridge, an app designed to help its users connect with the people that matter to them the most during a large scale natural disaster, such as the recent Hurricane Sandy that devastated the U.S. in late October 2012.

We are constantly witnessing more floods, bigger hurricanes, and extreme weather changes. So, getting help during and after the event, and locating friends and family can be difficult at such times. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the launch is an excellent initiative to rally everyone around one cause: supporting each other during a time of need.

Now, taking stock of devastating disasters of the past, the newly released mobile app powered by Windows Azure called HelpBridge that lets you both ask for help after a natural disaster, as well as offer to give it.

HelpBridge lets you categorize a list of friends and family members you would want to notify in the event of a natural disaster. Then in an emergency, the app will not only alert your love ones regarding your current situation, but the app lets you quickly send email or text message alerts letting those people know you are safe or require help. It will also allow users who are lucky enough to share their resources to others who are in need.

The app basically has two main options that are “I need help” and “I’m OK,” and both can be customized with your own text. The former option brings the user to a messaging section where users can quickly type messages and post them directly to Facebook, via email or SMS.

In addition to the messaging capabilities, there are three ways to help, HelpBridge streamlines donating money via PayPal, giving goods, or by volunteering your time to help, either locally or nationwide. Money can be donated to the Red Cross, Global Giving, etc., while goods can be donated to a list provided by the app. Likewise, HelpBridge connects users to a real-time list of agencies and locations in need of volunteers.

The Red Cross’s Chief Development Officer Neal Litvack offered this statement. “We are grateful to our partner Microsoft who understands the importance of connecting loved ones after disasters and provides ways for individuals to donate their time and dollars to help those in need through the Red Cross.”

Apart from all the above goodies, the app also lets you specify your precise location via your phone’s GPS signal, a feature that can be helpful if you are stuck somewhere and need aid.

The app has been released for the three big mobile operating systems: iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. You can download the app right now from the Google Play Store,the Apple App Store, and the Windows Phone Store.

Unfortunately, it is only available in the US right now, but hopefully Microsoft will be expanding regional support soon. So, Whether you reside in an area often hit by natural disasters or not, this is an app worth a download.

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