After observing the lack of functioning on-call emergency services we at Harmon-e have understood that for at least a decade the emergency service platforms available to the public are outdated. We ask a lot of this system, and as a result we have on-call services that are really crowded with long wait and throughput times due to which people in need of immediate emergency services such as health, fire and police haven’t been able to avail them on time which has led to several mishaps that could have been easily prevented. Apart from non-functioning on-call services it’s become a de facto access point for many people who lack access to primary care due to failures of emergency service platforms providing sufficient coverage area deeming several people helpless in dire need of their services, which wasn’t what it was originally set up for.
What it does
Our team here at Harmon-e aim to provide a smooth hassle free assistance in times of emergencies through our app. Anyone in distress can reach the helpline by pressing a single key of their device which will be pre-programmed and can attain various emergency services from any part of their country as compared to the various existing emergency service platforms provided by their respective government which only extends it’s services to limited areas depriving many of a much needed emergency service platform in times of crisis.
How I built it
We used the React Native mobile framework to build a simple yet elegant UI so as to not overwhelm our prospective users. This was coupled with an Express server in a Node JS backend environment which communicated with the frontend via HTTP requests. The required emergency would be routed to the server which would send an appropriate XML response to the required routes. The Google Places API would then be used to find the neighbouring places that offer that particular service (eg: hospitals) and return their contact numbers. The Twilio API was then used to place calls to these numbers and speak out the required content that would be directed by the XML responses mentioned above. Following the call, the SMS would also be sent out which would contain the details (location, history, social ID) of the person in distress. This would ensure a written format of the plea and would be useful to silent callers for example
Challenges I ran into
Some challenges the team ran into involved the appropriate research that went into the project. Since the existing services were outdated, they provided us opportunity but not too much of a precedent. As a result, we had to research the issue extensively to ensure that we would be making an impact from a consumer point of view.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
The problem our project solves –
Our project was able to effectively address the gaping hole in the system by making use of modern technology and implementing it in such a way so that it made sense from a user's perspective. We did not want to over engineer the product and I think we were fairly successful in that regard through our easy to use application
The solution we bring to the table –
Our application will be able to contact relevant emergency services in times of distress so that you as a user can focus on what's important: protecting yourself and your loved ones. With the click of a button, you can contact authorities and focus on getting yourself to safety. No more waiting for operators, or frantically searching for numbers to contact. We make it easy for you so that you can rest easy knowing that help is on its way!
Our progress during the weekend –
Over the weekend our team has not only managed to develop a mobile application to avail emergency services with a simple UI design with the hopes of ensuring a smooth user experience but has also been working on the presentation that aims to successfully and effectively pitch our idea to the judges on the 26th of September. We also discussed ways to improve our platform and implemented that through changes in design and research.
What I learned
Aside from learning a host of technical skills involving mobile development and the usage of APIs, our team was able to learn the value of teamwork and diversity. Working across different time zones was definitely challenging but we were able to pull it off effectively and in the process really understood and valued the importance of teamwork and camaraderie. That has definitely been the most effective learning I will be taking out of this amazing experience!
What's next for Harmon-E
Our team here at Harmon-e further aims to extend our emergency services to child and animal protection on our platform. We intend to provide our services on an initial basis in India which will require a certain degree of governmental assistance. The Indian demographic and existing system justifies our choice, yet the app will need to go through stages of improved design and implementation, before this can be realised