Twice a year we like to get together with some friends and give back to the world. Over the past two years, Tropo has been an active sponsor of Random Hacks of Kindness events in Seattle, Philadelphia, Boston, Milwaukee, Portland, and San Francisco and, through our unique ongoing partnership with Geeks Without Bounds, we are now in a position to help even more.
What is Random Hacks of Kindness?
RHoK is unique in the space of “apps competitions”, “hackathons” and “technology for social good”. RHoK’s model is to start from identifying, defining and refining problem definitions provided by subject matter experts and local stakeholders. This ensures that volunteer time is focused on solving real problems for real people.
Why does Tropo RHoK?
Many times applications that help humanitarian efforts have a communications aspect…whether that be text messaging or voice applications. It is critical for people in vulnerable situations to have access to accurate information but often don’t have easy access to a computer or WiFi. Often a telephone (not even a smart phone) is their only source to get this information. Tropo makes it easy to rapidly build and test these types of applications. In addition, Tropo offers text-to-speech and speech recognition in 24 different languages, local phone numbers in 46 countries and is completely free for developers to try. Plus you can take Tropo out of the cloud and run it in the harshest of environments, like the middle of the desert.
The Tropo developer community is filled with people who care about the world around them:
- The Geoloqi team, who are now recognized leaders in real-time location, messaging and analytics, have been a huge supporter of the RHoK community. Geolocation was a huge factor in the race to save lives in Haiti as there were few accurate maps available and rescue workers wasted valuable minutes just trying to figure out what was where.
- Babelverse, which provides real-time interpretation and translation of spoken word with thousands of crowd-sourced interpreters, sprung into action after the Japanese Tsunami to provide translation services to first responders and on-the-ground reporters to give the rest of the world and their families access to up-to-the-minute information in their native languages.
- Tethr has built the world’s first “emergency network in a box”, putting Tropo in a low-powered, hand-held server that provides wireless and 3G services and a webserver to be able to collect data when traditional telco and Internet services are out (or in regions they don’t yet reach).
How can you help?
Whether you’re a Tropo developer, designer, or even just interested in helping volunteer to make coffee, tweet, blog or offer some kind words, we need your help. The weekend of June 2-3 we’ll be joining 24 RHoK Cities around the globe to solve some big problems. In San Francisco we’ll be joined by folks from:
- Amnesty International will be presenting a human rights problem they’ve identified with vulnerable central american population migrations
- Nike is sending a team to help solve ongoing environmental issues to identify more sustainable materials in apparel manufacturing
- Martus is presenting a problem to assist human rights defenders working in vulnerable environments
- NASA will be presenting a host of challenges identified from their recent International Space Apps Challenge
In addition, the San Francisco RHoK will have representatives from both newly announced sustainability partners: Geeks Without Bounds and Benetech. Developers of real-time translation platform Babelverse will be onsite providing expertise into the power of real-time interpretation for humanitarian solutions as well developers from Code for America‘s open gov & open data teams as well. Register for San Francisco RHoK here!
Register for other RHoK Locations: Atlanta - Austin, TX, U.S.A. - Bangalore, India - Belgium - Berlin, Germany - Burlington, VT, U.S.A. - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: RHoK East Africa - Hamburg, Germany – Hamilton, Canada - Hyderabad, India - Kigali, Rwanda: RHoK East Africa – Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A. - Melbourne, Australia – Montréal, Canada - Nairobi, Kenya: RHoK East Africa - Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A. - Prague, Czech Republic - Pretoria, South Africa - San Francisco, CA, U.S.A. – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - Seattle, WA, U.S.A. - Southampton, United Kingdom - Toronto, Canada - Trento, Italy - Washington, DC, U.S.A.
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