USC is located near South LA, Inglewood, and Watts— cities known for their high crime rates and numerous gangs. USC offers various services to students who may encounter dangers associated with these gangs off campus, to ensure their safety and well-being. However, when it comes to a life or death situation, it can be hard for your average sleep-deprived college student to quickly find the right person to call for help. Instead, why not make an application that holds all important emergency contacts in one place, just one phone call away? And one that allows students to get help for reasons beyond just physical safety?
What it does
USC SOS is a service that acts as a hub for various emergency contacts at USC. Users can call in or click on the "call" button through the USC SOS mobile app to gain access to these contacts. (The mobile app is currently available only for Andriod users.) USC SOS offers users 6 different options to connect to: Covid-19 Hotline, Department of Safety, Campus Cruiser, Mental Health Counseling, RA Emergency Response and Other services (such as Finance, Personal Tragedy, or Housing). The app also allows for quick connection to 911 in case of a life-threatening emergency. USC SOS allows for flexibility in that users can either manually or verbally connect to these options.
USC SOS is built on a Twilio trial account at the current moment, which means the application cannot validate other phone numbers except the owner's. It is normal at this stage for the phone calls to result in hang ups due to our financial insufficiency for number validations. As a result, we included option 7, which will direct users to a connected call to demonstrate the practicality of USC SOS.
How we built it
We built the interactive voice response (IVR) through Twilio console studio, where we implemented flow control and voice functions. The implementation is made with web-like interactions among the "Split based on dial or speech" widgets and the combination of "Gather input on call" and "Connect call to" widgets. For the mobile application, we used React-Native to enhance user interface(UI) by linking to the Twilio flow chart. We published the mobile app through the Expo-CLI framework.
Challenges we ran into
- Not all members had expertise on the chosen programming language for our project.
- The need to quickly learn Twilio, Expo-Cli and React-Native from scratch.
- Communication across different time zones/locations.
- Coming up and moving forward with a project idea that pertains to our abilities as a team.
- Misdirections in the research process that stagnate progress.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Even though we haven’t met before AthenaHacks, we were able to work together effectively and evenly divide our tasks to create a tangible, useful application for USC students. All teammates had different levels of experience in languages and expertise in different areas; we witnessed the clash of diversifying talents and are incredibly pleased with how we all came together to build a product that can help serve those in need.
What we learned
- Working with Twilio
- Working with React-Native
- Working with Expo-Cli
- Creating a mobile web app
- Publishing a mobile web app
- Developing and building a product in less than 24 hours
- Designing a mobile user interface
What's next for USC SOS
- Receive funds in order to authorize and validate phone numbers.
- Implement a list of all emergency contacts on the mobile interface to increase user accessibility.
- Update phone numbers to most recent/valid numbers.
- Expand consumer market to include IOS users.
- Expand market to include clients in various professions.
- Allow users to bookmark the most-called number to allow for personalized access.