Emergency Communications

andrewserff
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Emergency Communications

Postby andrewserff » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:33 pm

Hello,

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:

  1. Is there somewhere we can learn of the capabilities that the Church has under development
  2. 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)!

Thanks!
Andrew

russellhltn
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Re: Emergency Communications

Postby russellhltn » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:43 pm

Without looking at the details I'm pretty sure that for something like these applications to work, the member's individual phones would have to be within WiFi range of each other. Not end to end, but in a string from one household to the next. Seems to me that would require a pretty dense cluster of members. I would imagine that FRS has a better range.
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andrewserff
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Re: Emergency Communications

Postby andrewserff » Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:08 pm

Yes, they have to be within 200 feet of each other. But there are still many situations where this could be useful. Like I said, the more people that have it, the wider the network can be.

That said, this is just one idea, as we continue to think of other ways to use commodity hardware that (mostly) every member has, how do we get the Church to back the technology with infrastructure and wide distribution?

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johnshaw
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Re: Emergency Communications

Postby johnshaw » Tue Sep 30, 2014 7:00 am

andrewserff wrote:So my questions are:
  1. Is there somewhere we can learn of the capabilities that the Church has under development
  2. Is there somewhere we can suggest/request that capabilities be added to the Church development roadmap.


The real answer is NO, however, you could present a 15 minute 'idea thingy' at the Tech Conference this year in a couple of weeks. Not sure what it's really for, but they say it is for ideas.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”
― Thomas Paine, Common Sense


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