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Ushahidi to help during local blizzards

In my current area, the only real dangers we tend to face are storms, and the most dangerous are blizzards during the winter.

Every year we have reports of elderly people who die when their power goes out and their house gets cold. With something like Ushahidi, if it was tweaked to fit the people of this part of America (people over 50 tend not to know how to work a cell phone, if they even own one)- perhaps by allowing a phone number which can immediately transcribe words to text (like Google Voice's answering machine service), those people would be able to let someone out there know that an at-risk person is now without heat or electricity and either someone can be dispatched, or perhaps people in the neighborhood could designate themselves as helpers and they could be contacted and informed and perhaps they would have a shovel or a snow blower and be able to reach that person, even in a storm, and make sure they are okay, or even let them into their own home until the power and the heating is fixed.

Views: 25

Comment by Jean Frankly on May 7, 2010 at 7:42pm
Great idea to improve access to Ushahidi for people who use regular phones (voice-to-text transcription).
Comment by Ameya Warde on May 7, 2010 at 8:07pm
Thanks! Google voice does that for me and emails me transcripts of my voice mail and it's SO helpful. I know no older people in my family know how to text or work a computer so I think it'd be the only way to really get the older generations in this country able to participate. :)
Comment by Jean Frankly on May 7, 2010 at 8:55pm
Too bad Google Voice is only available in the U.S. Is the voice-to-text transcription very accurate?

Comment by Ameya Warde on May 7, 2010 at 8:57pm
Hopefully (and probably) it will expand soon!

I think it does a great job of transcription, and on any words that they know they might have messed up on shows up in gray so you know that's a "maybe" word. Nothing huge, one today said Pam instead of Sam and Alden instead of Walden, but that was easy to know the difference and they were the only mistakes. :)


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