Microsoft has launched a new mobile app powered by Microsoft Azure called HelpBridge that lets you ask for help or give help after a natural disaster. Most of the time communications are difficult after a disaster so the HelpBridge app simplifies this by simultaneously sending an email and SMS to selected individuals and posts a message to your Facebook wall that details your situation and could include your GPS coordinates so your loved ones know where you are. However, it’s strange that Microsoft didn’t include Twitter considering its popularity during time-sensitive occasions.
Using the app is simple, just open up the app and press “I need help” to send a message to your preselected contacts to inform people of your situation and where you are. Other times people may not have been affected directly by the disaster but may want to help out with relief operations. To help, you simply press the “I am ok” button and you can give help by either offering money, time, or goods to relief organizations like the American Red Cross or CARE. It also shows real-time volunteering opportunities either locally or nationwide.
The app is available on the Windows Phone Store, Google Play Store, and Apple App Store. Unfortunately the app is only available in the US, but hopefully Microsoft will start expanding to other countries. Hopefully we’ll be seeing a local version as the Philippines is regularly hit by storms and typhoons an an app like HelpBridge could be helpful during relief operations.