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Survival apps filling an emergency niche

Posted by bryanh on Jan 6, 2012, Categories: Mobile News

Winter Survival

The Winter Survival app is built to help people stranded in winter driving conditions. Image: iTunes App Store

While apps such as Angry Birds continue to be the most popular programs on smartphones, more practical apps are slowly but surely coming available. A new app called Winter Survival Kit aims to offer the kind of survival information that can help save drivers’ lives.

Winter Survival Kit

Two people at the North Dakota State University Extension Service have created apps to help people through emergency situations. Winter Survival Kit is a free program that serves two purposes: preparing motorists for winter and serving as a GPS emergency beacon if things do go badly. The app can be programmed to call emergency numbers including 911, give advice on how to survive and give GPS information to emergency responders. In areas where a GPS signal is not available or digital phone service is spotty, the app sends out text messages, because text messages take less data connection than a phone call.

A growing trend of emergency information

Many app developers have started focusing on more practical applications for smartphones. While Winter Survival Kit is the only winter survival specific application available for iPhone an Android, there are many others that provide emergency situation or first aid information. Help I Crashed My Car, iMapWeather Radio, iTriage and Emergency Radio all provide services that would, in the past, have taken specific pieces of equipment or specific training.

The benefits of building practicality

Practical applications do not necessarily have the high download numbers or strong buzz in the marketplace that fun applications may get. On the other hand, providing truly practical and potentially live-saving applications can be as legitimate of a way to build a name. Good marketing and good app download numbers start by creating a trusted name that is associated with trusted applications.


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