Unexpected Hit Apps

Unexpected Hit Apps, September 2017

As any app developer worth his or her weight can attest, road bumps are common in the app development process, from brainstorming through design, to launch and updates. Ensuring you’re prepared to handle any glitch or doubts can help you and your app weather any storm.

Apps can become hits in unexpected ways, and sometimes, the reason for going viral is borne out of necessity. With recent events like major hurricanes in the southeast, wildfires in the west, and winter storms just around the corner, it’s more important than ever to be prepared for any emergency.

Many apps have received recent recognition or widespread usage because they’re instrumental in helping users prepare or endure a wide variety of emergencies and disasters. Here’s a look at three free and indispensable apps that keep everyone prepared for the worst by offering the best. We’ll let you know what’s cool about them, and how they became unexpected hits.


Zello Walkie Talkie

Zello Walkie Talkie, launched in 2011 out of Austin, Texas, was originally modeled to mimic push-to-talk walkie talkies. What started as a casual chatting app for both personal and light work discussions skyrocketed to the top of the U.S. app store in September, 2017, going viral in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. With over 110 million downloads, the developer added 18 new servers to account for the influx of users – one million new members in one day alone. The humble app has become an unexpected hit due to two monster hurricanes, and in turn has become a boon to both civilians and emergency responders alike.

Zello allows users to communicate through a variety of channels, using 2G, 4G, 3G and GPRS/EDGE networks. Instead of making a traditional phone-to-phone call, users can use Zello’s channels to listen in or contribute to public conversations. Users can view trending channels and join in any topic, much like CB radio or police scanner frequencies. If cell phone reception is spotty, users can utilize Zello to leave a recorded message, photo, or response on any channel.

While the app won’t work without cell towers or WiFi, it still operates with spotty service when traditional calls simply won’t go through, or when networks are overloaded with emergency calls. This app has been integral in connecting loved ones after a disaster, helping impromptu responders unite, and assisting those who are stranded in the aftermath of a ravaging storm.


Disaster Alert

There’s a lot of buzz about Disaster Alert, and for good reason. Disaster Alert, a relatively new app launched early in 2017 by Pacific Disaster Center, lets users know of disasters near their location, as well as on a global scale. This app has been an incredibly valuable tool for families wanting to keep track of potential threats to loved ones who are several time zones away, as well as keeping folks informed of what’s happening in their own neighborhoods.

From fires, typhoons, tornadoes, floods, drought, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, biomedical events, and more, Disaster Alert covers any and every emergency advisory thoroughly and clearly on a global map, where any location can be viewed with a touch of the screen. If you find a disaster icon near you, click on it, and a pop-up will give a brief hazard overview. Users can expand the emergency details, and view key information such as situation awareness information, a regional overview, risk and vulnerability, and historical hazards.

Disaster Alert also allows users to add layers to the map, accounting for population density, rain, clouds, air temperature, and a day/night indicator. With this app, users can keep track of any regional event, and with tips and notifications, they can ensure that they’re prepared for any sudden changes or developments.

first aid american red cross

First Aid by American Red Cross

First Aid is the definitive app to help users get ready and stay prepared for any crisis, whether on the horizon or out of the blue. With all the headlines of recent natural disasters, it’s no wonder people want an app that can help them stay prepared in the future. Luckily, this app features an easy-to-use interface and loads of information to help in any emergency situation.

For preparation, First Aid offers checklists to help anyone get ready. Need to build an emergency kit? This app itemizes your kit, allowing users to check items that are already inventoried, and leaving other items unchecked as a reminder. First Aid also features a handy local hospital locator, so professional medical aid can be found simply by accessing your device’s location. Another great feature is an alphabetical list of injuries and first aid solutions, quizzes, step-by-step instructions, animated visual aids, and an FAQ that can guide users who have additional questions.

First Aid is available in English or Spanish and has supplemental sister apps available for download as well, such as hurricane, earthquake, and tornado response apps.

They key factor in all of these apps is preparedness

These three apps are essential for emergency preparation and disaster readiness, and were all created thanks in large part to the combined efforts and tireless work of first responders, emergency response teams, medical personnel, natural disaster experts, and app entrepreneurs and developers.

These apps became unexpected hits they met a need that wasn’t glamorous or ‘fun,’ and hopefully not for daily use. Whether planning long term for a worst case scenario, or reacting fast when seconds count, these apps are prime examples of what happens when an app creator and a development team successfully pair up and launch an app that meets a need before it does anything else. And because these app creators followed through, they’ve now saved lives.

If you want the best for your app and need a developer that can solve challenges and prepare you for any twist, it’s time to have a no-obligation phone call with a professional app developer. Give us a call us at (877)-534-1301.

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