Have you ever experienced or learned of a major event or natural disaster and reached for your phone to immediately call a loved one? It is a natural response that unfortunately can cause mobile phone networks to become overloaded and break down.
I’mOK is an alternative and more reliable way to get that important message to loved ones that someone is OK when a troubling event occurs. By sending an SMS to a phone number previously given to you by the I’mOK website, the I’mOK system receives the SMS message and forwards it out to a list of email contacts. By using a few convenient hashtags such as #imok #needhelp and #loc you can quickly craft the essential components of the message and get it to your loved ones quickly.
The major advantage of this system is that it uses one of the most low bandwidth components of mobile communication – an SMS message – that is then picked up and delivered to recipients independently of the mobile infrastructure in place. You only need to rely on that infrastructure once for a single SMS, which is much more likely to succeed than multiple phone calls or continuous smartphone data usage.
I’mOK is an early story of impact from the RHoK community. It was built at the first ever RHoK event in Mountain View, California. In addition to being publicly available, it was deployed with field agents from the World Bank in Haiti and Chile following the earthquakes in those locations.
You can use I’mOK via SMS or by downloading the Blackberry app. Android and iPhone versions are in the works, but the team can use your help! If you’re interested in contributing your development expertise to I’mOK in order to get it up and running on these platforms, get in touch with Eric Park.