The Mobile Response to Nepal
This post was written by guest blogger Wesley King, a business systems analyst at Cisco
The World is Flat, not a Flatscreen
I can’t deny it any longer. The apps on my mobile devices, and my social network living inside those apps, are influencing my behavior. In the case of disaster relief, at least, this influence is for the better.
While playing Words with Friends, I am asked to “Play to Help Nepal.” While paying my sister back for a Mother’s Day through Venmo, I notice my news feed has been taken over by @Possible (Possible Health).
“A 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Kathmandu valley in Nepal. Donate $5 to Possible and help build back Nepal’s healthcare system relief efforts. http://bit.ly/possible4nepal“
A few taps on the screen and I watch my money move, along with relief workers, aid, and social awareness.
What is this, The Sims? No. This is real life. Through user devices and endpoints, we can now look closer at disaster, and more deeply feel the reverberations of heartache. This isn’t a barrage of dramatized daily media; this is real news, zoomed way in. This is how we combat digital desensitization and detachment. This is reality through a virtual lens; what life-sized pixels look like.
Attention to detail
In mobile design, we are in constant pursuit of perfecting the “look and feel” of an app. To do this, we ask questions:
- Do these pixels pop?
- Do those shadows drop?
- Does this dropbox crop?
- What is the response time?
- Is it fast enough?
- How long can we hold the user’s attention?
These are very relevant questions, given the recent events in Nepal. When a natural disaster – earthquake, tsunami, hurricane – hits, we snap to attention, ready to help. With current technology, our responses are getting snappier and more impressive: see NASA tech rescues 4 quake survivors.
How long will you pay attention to those in need? What kind of action(s) will you take?
The following organizations have used mobile apps and/or crowdfunding to raise significant funding to support Nepalese earthquake survivors:
$160K + since September, providing healthcare to the Nepalese poor
$50K + for earthquake victims
“In everything we do, we believe in proving it’s possible to deliver high-quality, low-cost healthcare to the world’s poor.”
$500,000 goal almost reached
$1.6 million +
How is Cisco supporting the relief effort in Nepal?
The Cisco Foundation made a $100,000 grant to NetHope to provide emergency communications and support information sharing among responding organizations. A member of Cisco’s Tactical Operations Team also spent more than two weeks in Nepal, where he helped set up emergency communications so responders can coordinate delivery of food, water, and medical care where it’s needed most. Finally, Cisco is encouraging employees to donate to organizations responding to the crisis, such as the Red Cross, Unicef, and the World Food Program, and to request matching funds through the Cisco Foundation.