Thursday, 21 September, 2017

Walkie-talkie app created to use during emergency situations

Zello is the top app in the app store due to Hurricane Irma Walkie-talkie app created to use during emergency situations
Debra Rodriguez | 10 September, 2017, 10:46

Scott Grossman and his family in Weston, Florida, just downloaded and tested it out Friday in preparation of Hurricane Irma on the recommendation of friends.

Zello CEO Bill Moore said the app is more popular outside the United States, where some people use it as a phone call replacement or as a political organizing tool.

Hurricane Harvey rescuers turned to walkie-talkie app Zello while working to save thousands trapped by floodwaters last week. This enables users to have immediate voice communication with other people on the shared channel, instead of having to place a phone call and wait for someone on the other end to pick up.

They can hear other people's transmissions and contribute, as well.

Even for those not on the ground in Texas, the app proved to be an important resource as remote volunteers could use the app to pitch in as dispatchers and help organize the seemingly never-ending flow of chatter.

During Harvey, its users exchanged advice and organized rescue efforts, with several channels created to discuss the aftermath of the hurricane.

Zello's App Store rankings have skyrocketed since Harvey hit Texas. (Also, your Wi-Fi won't work if you don't have power and your cable line is down.) Zello gets around this by turn your phone in a walkie-talkie of sorts that can prove to be helpful if you are in need of assistance.

iMessage and FaceTime, a pair of Apple's own communication apps, also require internet connectivity but are powered by servers that will likely be reliable enough despite a sudden load of users.

Connect with contacts in Zello.

Which makes sense. Plus, if your message isn't able to get delivered immediately, it will get to your friend and they can listen and respond when they're able to get an internet connection.

The Austin-based push-to-talk app Zello proved to be reliable in Houston flood rescue efforts. But, be careful not to drain your battery. Plus, it lets you check up on loved ones.

The NOAA weather radar app was the number five free download in Google Play Thursday, with the Hurricane Tracker app taking the store's number five paid slot.

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