New app to link communities

On alert: New app designed to link communities quicker and easier. Photo: Supplied.

On alert: New app designed to link communities quicker and easier. Photo: Supplied.

A desire to keep loved ones stay in easy contact with family and friends no matter their location has inspired an Australian entrepreneur to create social safety app, tribesta. Even before its public availability the app is gathering global attention with emergency services in other countries keen to access the technology.

Tribesta, to be launched at Sydneys Police and Justice Museum on December 9, has gained the support of the Australian medical and emergency services sectors, such as Crime Stoppers. The app, a world first of its type, is available free to download as a cornerstone community initiative, founder Kathleen Kenny says.

With tribesta users are able to nominate their tribe which can be made up of friends, family and coworkers allowing them to then communicate and send instant messages inclusive of GPS tracking and a map of their location to the phones of tribe members.

One tap and you and your trusted tribe are on the same page, Ms Kenny says. tribestas simplicity allows immediate escalated support for users, telling them when someone in their tribe needs them, where members of their tribe are, that someone is on their way and has their critical information on hand if needed to share with emergency services."

Tribesta founder Kathleen Kennedy says the app is about keeping people in contact with loved ones. Photo: Supplied.

Tribesta founder Kathleen Kennedy says the app is about keeping people in contact with loved ones. Photo: Supplied.

The app is already achieving international attention with US police departments keen to roll out the technology among its residents in 2015. Other countries have also noted their interest in using the app within their communities, as it was language neutral.

Ms Kennys vision for the app followed a series of family hardships, in particular when her mother-in-law, who suffers from dementia, went missing for two days.

She was looked after by police and medical personnel and she was placed in hospital she was in good hands, but because she didnt know who she was or where she lived they were unable to contact us.

From this I thought there has to be a way for people to be in contact with loved ones to tell them they are OK, or need help.

Ms Kenny says the app has the potential to save $1.2billion in emergency and medical resources per annum.

We did an independent economic analysis on emergency resources and this is a conservative figure that was the result of that in-depth research.

Users download the app to their smart phones, and is android and iOS friendly. They can then share one of four built-in messages to their tribe. Internet availability can share GPS coordinates, which will send an accurate location to allocated tribe members.

A tribe can be your loved ones or your friends. For example, my daughter is 12 and wanting to take the trip to the local store. My husband and I are her two contacts, so she can send us a quick message to us saying she is fine and on her there and then when she is on her way home. It gives peace of mind to family and friends.

Ms Kenny says the social app was the next generation in emergency services applications.

When 000 was launched 23 years ago everyone was a Telecom customer and they had a landline, which would accurately tell the operator the location of the person or emergency. Today, people are travelling, and have mobile phones not landlines, so it is harder to accurately pinpoint where they are. But this app is adaptive to the way we now live and can help keep you in contact more easily without sending a text or making a phone call, and accurately.

About 80 per cent of calls made to 000 come from mobile phones, jumping 20 per cent in the past year, and often the caller is unaware of their exact location, she says. With GPS technology, tribesta solves the challenges of location and geography, giving the user their physical and visual address and enabling emergency services to get to them and help.

The app was more than three years in the making, with Ms Kenny, who has a background in start-ups, initially self-funding research and app development. Further enhancements for push notifications will be rolled out with the app to have capabilities to report on threats of bushfires in regions.

Eventually we sought interest from investors as people were seeing the value in online innovative space.

She says the app offers multiple ways to help search respondents and is not limited to just relying on an app and the phone.

For example, the Golden Hour after an incident occurs is critical when it comes to saving lives. When respondents can access medical information straight away they can then reduce any side effects or prevent further ill health. It has potential for health departments and aged care.

Tribestas four one tap buttons are:

On alert: Tribesta, a new social safety app, created in Australia and set to go global. Photo: Supplied.

On alert: Tribesta, a new social safety app, created in Australia and set to go global. Photo: Supplied.

  • Im OK one tap and your tribe knows youre OK, the time of notification and your location on a map
  • Lets Go one tap and your tribe knows to pick you up or watch over you while youre on the move
  • Alert one tap and your tribe knows you feel uncomfortable, the more than a map feature shows you and your tribe each others location so you and your tribe can make quick decisions on how to best help
  • 000 one tap and you call Triple Zero, your tribe is alerted and your critical profile and next of kin or preferred contact information is available to your trusted tribe.

An estimated 35,000 people are reported missing each year in Australia, which equates to one person every 15 minutes. We want to give parents the peace of mind that their kids are okay, kids peace of mind that their friends and families know where they are, and help all Australians to feel that they are accessible and know that help is nearby in case of emergency, Ms Kenny adds.

This story New app to link communities first appeared on Newcastle Herald.