Inspiration

Early this month i resigned my full time job and started a new business link. Following how the situation with COVID evolved I decided to put the business on the back burner and do something to help with COVID. Reach out is the first of two projects I am planning to do to help, the inspiration came from the community, there are many local groups sending letters and forms through letter boxes to let people know that they are ready to help, i thought that a dedicated mobile app can scale better and allow more people to join to help and get help and stay safe.

What it does

Reach out matches people at risk and self-isolating people with volunteers and professionals who can help them with picking up grocery, prescriptions, teach them how to use modern technology to stay connected with their loved ones and their community, walk their dogs, send them care packages and much more. By enabling them to stay safe in their homes and let them ask for help and at the same time enable anyone in their community to support them and keeping them safe.

It can provide care and health services and other agencies with valuable data about who is self isolating for showing symptoms, who is staying with them and if they are showing symptoms or they could be potentially immune or better fighting the virus and much more.

How I built it

I started with 2 proof of concepts for the 2 projects and decided to pick this one first. i had worked with mobile apps a few years back so i have an idea about how to develop for Android. After some research i decided to use XAMARIN to have an easy way to support multiple platforms. For the database back-end i decided to use Firebase for speed but kept the application flexible to use other services in case Firebase proved expensive

Challenges I ran into

This project was full of challenges from time constraints, having to learn XAMARIN for development and Firebase for back-end (after trying google cloud and Microsoft azure first) as well as using google services for maps and authentication. I enjoyed learning and creating the technology and now i feel i have the MVP to try it out with people and start building better services that can scale. Getting the app approved for play store and app store :)

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Having the application ready to be deployed now,

What I learned

The technology is easy to create, the real challenge is to spread the word and drive people adoption by making it easy, accessible, available and scalable

What's next for Reach Out

I still need to deploy in production (Get paid freebase and google cloud accounts and and submit the app to google store by end of this week. and then have the ios app extensions complete early next week to get it ready to submit to app store.

Deploying in production and getting people to use it. There are a few more features in the pipeline but i would like to get user validation and potentially iron out issues with payments, logistics and making sure the service is useful and making sure we are following good health and safety measures to keep the risk as low as reasonably practical.

Having built the app in short time i had to take some shortcuts 'technical dept' that needs to be addresses soon, there are some parts where i didn't use the design patterns in the ways i would have liked to.

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