How One Tech Start-Up saved Hundreds of Lives
It isn’t often that tech firms can be attributed to saving lives. Often the news is filled with conspiracy theorists and detractors all pointing the blame for illnesses and death at the doorstep of different tech companies. You need to look no further than the ludicrous 5G Conspiracy theory that is circulating. So it is rare when a story comes along that shows the impact a tech firm has on saving lives.
Sure the larger firms often help medical services or create tech that saves lives. But smaller firms and start-ups often go unnoticed by the public eye. It is all too easy to forget the little guy in all this. Companies like Nord or practicebloom have been flying under the radar for years now.
But our story is one of the underdogs coming out and stepping up. A small tech start-up that eventually saved hundreds of lives. All with the creating of a simple, yet effective app. Strap in and prepare for a story of an app that changed the world.
Our story starts with 4 men. Chris Sheldrick, Jack Waley-Cohen, Mohan Ganesalingam and Micheal Dent. Based in London these four had a simple idea for an app. In 2013 they came together and began working on a program that could assign three words to every three square meters of land on the planet. They started work in early 2013 and proceeded to acquire seed money over the next few years, even landing a lucrative deal with Mercedes, who now produce cars with this app on board.
It wasn’t long before the app was picking up major recognition from the tech world. The idea of the app is simple. Every 3 square meters of land is randomly assigned three words, based on an algorithm. No two spaces on the planet share the same coding. But you might be wondering, what is the point of that.
To put it simply, GPS technology is spotty as best. If you are in an area with poor satellite coverage or connection, your GPS is going to be useless. You might as well not have it. And for mountains, forests, and deserts this can be dangerous. This is where the app comes in. Every area on the planet is assigned this code already, meaning the app comes with the map of the earth with every code on it. This means even if your GPS service fails, you can easily look on the map to find out where you are.
What use is this, you might be thinking. This technology provides the most accurate location data ever. No system has ever been able to pinpoint your location with such accuracy. It is the equivalent of giving your longitude and latitude to someone and them finding you on a map.
But still, you must be wondering how this app saved lives? Its nothing more than a glorified GPS, right? Well, that is exactly what the world of first responders needed.
The emergency services have always been faced with one glaring issue. First responders have to do constant battle with location issues. People who are unaware of where they actually are, due to unfamiliar environments, inebriation or shoddy tracking software. And the dispatch team has resources to help with this, but they aren’t always accurate, and they eat up valuable time. When it comes to first responders, time is the difference between saving a life and death.
This app has already been proven to assist in locating people in need of help. Just this year four walkers trapped and lost on Ben Nevis were located by emergency rescue services using his software. All over the world, there are stories of emergency services utilising this tool to improve their response time and cut down on the hassle of finding those in need.
The system works two ways. It provides those in danger a covert way of giving their location to authorities or family in situations where they may be being monitored or controlled. The applications of this program are far-spreading and I’m certain we will discover more and more uses. for it as the years go by.
This story is a great example of how tech is being used to change the world in a positive way. What started as a simple idea between four friends has turned into something capable of saving countless lives. The impact of this app has been seen already and will continue to be seen as the years go on. A true testament to what can be achieved by those who think with their mind in the future and have a passion for technology.