NowForce – an emeregency map-based app

What’s interesting about NowForce is how commercial the website is, compared to it’s humble origins. I ran accross it after reading about Eli Beer’s, founder and  chairman, tall on TedMed. Beer found “Ihud Hatzala” (איחוד הצלה) after witnessing death following a bombing in Jerusalem bus in his youth. The idea behind its organization is briliant in its simplicity – a distributed army of volunteers on mopeds, trained as emergency responders, their purpose being the first to arrive to a scene and stabilize wounded before the arrival of “real” ambulances. The volunteers live their lives as lawyers, salespeople or teachers, until the call comes to their (surprise-surprise) mobile phone. They are then dispatched to an event. Each volunteer handles an average of 60 calls a month. The service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Teir service is commendable, and merges traditional Jewish principles of charity with contemporary hybrid market where jobs, volunteering and identities blend in post-modern splendour. Their propriety software, on the other hand, lacks that volunteering spirit. This is a commercial product to the bone, and as such it speaks the language of corporations, promising that”With NowForce, emergency response organizations save lives, time and money”.

The most important feature, according to the website, is the seamless integration with existing platforms and mobile devices. They do not offer an expensive package deal for big organizations, but a tailored solutions fitting a small town fire service or a a campus security provider. This bodes well for an organization that emerged from volunteers keeping their day-jobs while saving lives (Superheroes with secret identities ?), an organisation that had to rely on exisiting hardware and software with limited funds.

This bodes well with Adriana de Souza e Silva’s notion of hybrid reality. Except that instead of mobile screens’ mediation of public transportation and social meetups, Nowforce creates a hybrid world where your phone might call upon you at any time to save another person’s life.

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