Microsoft's new HelpBridge mobile app assists people when disaster strikes

The effects of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the US Northeast Coast in late October, are still being felt months after the event. Now Microsoft has launched a new and free mobile app for Windows Phone, iOS and Android platforms that is designed to assist others who are affected by these kinds of natural disasters.

The app is called HelpBridge, and Microsoft says it was designed to be "disaster-agnostic" so that it could be used for many situations rather than just one specific event. One of its features allows users who are either in the middle of a disaster such as a hurricane or an earthquake to set up a list of family or friends who can be contacted quickly.

The app also allows anyone to donate money or goods to charitable organizations after such an event has occurred and to find groups on the ground that they can join for more direct assistance. Finally, it lets people who need help after a disaster to quickly message others asking for assistance.

Microsoft naturally used its own Windows Azure services to serve as the backend for HelpBridge. The company has also partnered with organizations such as Mobile Giving Foundation, VolunteerMatch, Aidmatrix and Network for Good in the development of HelpBridge.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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11 Comments

I understand what you are saying, but it is not that MS is focusing in a single market, but particular apps such as this, must be localized because each country has different type of protocols when it comes to disaster relief or emergency situations.

Can you just imaging the litegation if someone from the US creates this type of app for someone in Europe.

RommelS said,
I understand what you are saying, but it is not that MS is focusing in a single market, but particular apps such as this, must be localized because each country has different type of protocols when it comes to disaster relief or emergency situations.

Can you just imaging the litegation if someone from the US creates this type of app for someone in Europe.


Quite sure the litegation isnt the problem. MS often seems to just 'forget' the rest of the world exists.

RommelS said,
I understand what you are saying, but it is not that MS is focusing in a single market, but particular apps such as this, must be localized because each country has different type of protocols when it comes to disaster relief or emergency situations.

Can you just imaging the litegation if someone from the US creates this type of app for someone in Europe.

Exactly. Not to mention the infrastructure to allow the app to respond to disasters all over the world? When all of their systems are different? People like to complain, but apps like this would be a nightmare to release globally...

And I would also like to point out that WP7 had built in support for disaster response in Japan using their First Response System. So, that is clearly not the US...

Well they are an American company first... how often are other tech companies from other countries quick to make stuff available to Americans?

Seems like a pretty cool idea...

Especially useful if, for example, I live in an area where there's some sort of disaster but all my family, friends, etc live outside the area. They're all worried about me and are trying to contact me at the same time. I can just use this app to let everyone know that I'm ok at the same time.

Or, opposite to that, could set up a flag letting people know that I'm in trouble, either physically, financially, etc. Instead of having to call people and ask for help directly, I can let them help by donating if they want to.

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