Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Ping ::: Check In With People You Care About

Keep your eye on THE PING ::: Kenyan/African digital technology is something people in other lands should definitely look into. Of all the stupid apps available for downloading, here is a connecting tool that makes a lot of damned awful sense in this modern but cruel world!
“Ushahidi”, which means “testimony” in Swahili, was a website that was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008.
The Ping app is a binary, multichannel check-in tool for groups. The tool will help families, friends and companies to quickly check in with each other:
There was a consistent problem in every disaster that happens, not just in Kenya, but everywhere. Small groups, families and companies need to quickly check in with each other. They need to “ping” one another to make sure they’re okay. It has to be something incredibly simple, that requires little thinking to use. People have been doing some stuff in this space in the past, the best like “I’m Ok” are focused on smartphone users, but we have a need to make it work for even the simplest phones. Our goal is to have this available for anyone globally to use.
The Ping App – a group check-in tool for emergencies. Photo source: Ushahidi blog.
The Ping App – a group check-in tool for emergencies. Photo source: Ushahidi blog.
This is how the Ping works:

You create a list of your people (family, organization), and each person also adds another contact who is close to them (spouse, roommate, boy/girlfriend, etc).
When a disaster happens, you send out a message for everyone to check-in. The admin sends out a 120 character message that always has “are you ok?” appended to the end.
This goes out via text message and email (more channels can be added later).
The message goes out three times, once every 5 minutes. If there is a response, then that person is considered okay. If no response, then 3 messages get sent to their other contact.
We file each response into one of 3 areas: responded (verified), not responded, not okay.
Every message that comes back from someone in that group is saved into a big bucket of text, that the admin can add notes to if needed.

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