By Jose Cassola….
When best friends and old high school buddies Barry Haimo and David Kahn decided to go into the app-developing business, they wanted to make sure their first application was something useful.
In August 2010, the two friends and now business partners — who met in grade school in Plantation — came up with MyFlare, an emergency response application that allows users to synchronize the resources on any smartphone and use them all simultaneously with the push of one button. In the event of an emergency, a user can activate the application and send mass text messages and emails to as many as 10 contacts with a preselected message, GPS coordinates and even video.
CEO and co-founder Haimo, a tax and estate attorney and part-time tutor for the bar exam, said he brainstormed the idea after a woman he knew was sexually assaulted.
“It occurred to me that we have all these resources on our smart phones, so why not enhance the functionality of the phone and quadruple the amount of things that we can actually do.” said Haimo. “You can’t send a text and email at the same time and you can’t text and email multiple people at the same time. You can’t embed your GPS location in an email and turn on your video camera at the same time, and then repeat all of this every three minutes. You haven’t been able to do all that until now with MyFlare.”
Haimo said the point of MyFlare is to expand the functionality of a smartphone in a resourceful way and “synchronize all the tools and resources on a phone to use them simultaneously, instantly, automatically and continuously.”
Haimo approached Kahn to help develop the specs and design of the MyFlare app and the two teamed up with software development company iPowerFour to help “mold the application into what it is and what it’s going to become.”
The application — available for download on Android phones since July 2011, with iPhone and Blackberry coming soon — allows a person to preselect five emergency contact phone numbers and five email addresses, customize and set up an emergency message, turn on the video camera option and send GPS coordinates every three minutes with the touch of one button. The user may also choose between 911 and non 911 emergency modes.
“In an emergency situation, while you’re on the phone with 911, the app is blasting your distress message to your emergency contacts via text and email with your GPS location, which is being updated every three minutes, and 20- second video camera recordings,” Haimo said. “I’m an attorney, so I’m thinking evidence for legal proceedings. Maybe you can’t prevent what’s going to happen. But you can do something about it.”
Kahn, an accountant and financial analyst who lives in Atlanta, said the MyFlare application is coming out at the perfect time, when technology is transitioning into a new phase.
“Interest in computers is waning,” he said. “Now you have people interested in technology they can use on the go that fits in their hands. You can have mace, a gun or a dog, but none of those tools is going to alert authorities or your family and friends to your location if you find yourself in trouble. The MyFlare app will. It’s one extra tool that can only help you.”
Though MyFlare is being promoted nationwide, the aggressive marketing is taking place in South Florida and Atlanta, where the founders live, and in New York City, where a third partner, Jared Zwerling, resides.
Zwerling, a writer and marketing consultant, has been securing partnerships and sponsorships for the app and spreading the word through print and broadcast media.
“We want to be everywhere and target crime and safety organizations, women in distress centers, senior centers, colleges,” Zwerling said. “The places we can go are limitless.”
MyFlare costs $2.49 for Android users and eventually there will be a 99-cent-a-month charge after the app is launched on other markets.
Haimo said MyFlare may soon partner with 911 dispatch centers and security companies to tether smartphones with the app installed, thereby enhancing their level of security.
“The goal with MyFlare is to make people see that in the event of an emergency, there’s so much more you can do with your smartphone than just dial 911,” Haimo said.
For more information, go to <http:myflareapplication. com>.