Are We Really Connected?
Every day, around the world, millions of individuals face emergency situations.
These critical situations highlight one of the major paradoxes of our digital era: while we are all connected globally to our friends around the world (through our mobile internet, social networks…) our ability to connect locally remains incredibly limited.
And when urgent help is needed, no matter how many friends you have on your favourite social network: you can find yourself very lonely, as hundreds of strangers in your vicinity just do not know that you are in distress, and therefore cannot help.
While new technologies enable us to know what is happening real-time thousands of miles away, there is no way for us to know about the tragedies which may be happening a few meters away from us, behind the walls of our apartments or just around the corner. As a consequence, it is impossible for any of us to help people in distress in our immediate neighbourhood, while we often could and would be willing to do so.
This lack of connectivity between victims and people around who could provide immediate help is shocking is a so-called “connected world”.
There are always men and women of good will in the immediate neighbourhood of an emergency situation, and often times these persons even have some medical and/or safety skills which could bring decisive help (a doctor living in the same building, a first aid professional walking on the same street, a policeman having lunch around the corner…). But today, all these “proximity rescuers” – people who could provide invaluable help in the first minutes of any emergency – are never mobilized: this lack of local connectivity often translates into lack of assistance, with sometimes fatal outcomes.
Too many “stupid deaths” could be avoided
There are unfortunately too many examples of both tragic and absurd situations, where the fatal outcome could have been avoided through a better connection between the victim and potential rescuers around. Thousands of lives are lost every day around the world due to this mere lack of local connectivity between victims and potential saviors.
True Story 1
Elizabeth, 78, lives alone in a flat in Paris’ suburbs. At 9:40pm, Elizabeth feels some chest pain. At 9:45pm, she realizes she is having a heart attack and calls the SAMU (medical emergency service in France). She barely has time to give her name and address before she collapses… At the very same time, sitting 10 meters from there, right behind the thin wall separating their flats, Matt, 32, is uploading holiday pictures on Facebook and chatting with his friends around the world. It just happens that Matt is a professional first-aid trainer at the Red Cross. When the medical team arrives at 10:01pm, Elizabeth is already dead. When he will learn about the tragedy the next morning, Matt will be devastated at the idea that he could have saved the lady who was dying a few meters from him – if only he had known about it.
True Story 2
Mary, a 19-year-old student, is walking back home at around 11:30pm, after a dinner with her boyfriend and a group friends at a restaurant close to her place. When she realizes a strange man is following her in a quiet street, she barely has time to dial her mother’s number before the assault starts. Mary got raped and strangulated; in the meantime, her boyfriend and 7 other friends where waiting for the bus about 100 meters from there.
True Story 3
Nicolas, a 13-year-old kid, collapses in the street on his way back from school. A pass-buyer calls 911 but cannot provide any useful medical details on the situation. In particular, he cannot guess that Nicolas has a type 1 diabetes and carries a dose of insulin in his schoolbag . At the very same time, Nicolas’ mother, who perfectly knows how to deal with such emergencies, is having lunch with a friend in a restaurant two blocks away from there. When the emergency services arrive on site, Nicolas is already in a deep coma ; and his mother will only learn about it a few hours later, once transferred to the hospital.
mySOS’ ambition is to resolve this paradox through a revolutionary solution based on a few key principles
- Smartphones’ « intelligence », connectivity and geo-localization power are largely under-utilized in emergency situations
- A better connection between victims and saviors can help save millions of lives around the world
- We can all be victims, and we can all be saviors
- Local solidarity is a “killer app” of mobile internet
- People are willing to help – they just don’t know someone around needs help
- Together, we can build a better and safer world