I was recently called as a Stake Communications specialist. We also just had a multi-Stake Emergency Prep coordinating council to share some information across Stakes. During the meeting, it was apparent that there is a large disconnect between the larger Church (headquarters) and the smaller units. We heard from our area VOAD who knew about some larger activities going on at the Church level that to date, I have never known where to look for. For instance, it sounds like the Church is working on a reverse 911 technology to gather information in emergencies. In the past, they started working on the Maps capability that has now been released to the larger Church membership. So my questions are:
- Is there somewhere we can learn of the capabilities that the Church has under development
- Is there somewhere we can suggest/request that capabilities be added to the Church development roadmap.
Right now, I would specifically like to know if the Church has any plans to add a capability such as FireChat/Open Gardens API to any of the LDS apps (preferably the one with the widest distribution)? FireChat provides the capability for mobile devices to communicate with each other without an internet connection by utilizing Bluetooth. FireChat users can create a wide area network just by being close to each other (yet spread out), but the network only expands as far as the number of people connected to it. So for this to be viable in an emergency situation, a LOT of people would need FireChat already installed on their mobile devices. Not many people know about FireChat or this capability. It would be fantastic if the Church added this capability to their apps, giving millions of users the ability to communicate with other members in the event that regular communications are lost. Without knowing who to bring this up to, I don't know how to get it in front of the right people to make it a reality, so I'm trying here. Hopefully someone can point me in the right direction as I would love to be involved form both the idea and development standpoint (I'm a developer as well)!