On Wednesday, January 16, Microsoft announced the availability of a new application for mobile phones, called HelpBridge and meant to provide users with the possibility to connect with people close to them during natural disasters.Furthermore, the new mobile application was designed to enable people to easily provide money, time and resources to support relief and rebuilding efforts in case a large scale disaster strikes.
The new software was made put up for download for Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices, and can be found available for free through official app stores.
With HelpBridge, users can create a list of people whom they would want to contact in case of an emergency, and which can be informed on one’s status with a simple swipe.
Via SMS, email and/or Facebook, users can either announce that they are OK or that they need help via SMS. Furthermore, they can set the message to inform on location, taking advantage of a device’s GPS capabilities.
“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,” said Neal Litvack, chief development Officer of the American Red Cross.
As mentioned above, the app can also be used to support relief in case a natural disaster strikes:
- Donate money: You can use the application to easily donate funds to a broad range of relief agencies assisting victims of a disaster including the American Red Cross, CARE, Global Giving and many more.
- Donate goods: You can discover what goods and resources relief agencies on the ground need, and the application makes it easy for you to get the right goods to the right place.
- Volunteer your time: HelpBridge provides you with a list of real-time volunteering opportunities posted by relief agencies, enabling you to directly or indirectly support relief efforts with your time.
The mobile application was designed with a backend running on Windows Azure, a rich and reliable web application and data platform from Microsoft. For additional info on how the new mobile application works, users should have a look at the video embedded below.