They were created to save our lives. Literally - when they relate to safety, health, and environmental well-being but also figuratively - when they facilitate our daily duties. These are mobile applications, whose task is not to provide us with entertainment, but daily support. We have prepared a ranking of the most interesting tools and platforms that have caught our attention lately. If they're not popular yet, that could change soon. If you know them, they definitely deserve more publicity. What is certain is that you will surely find something here that will help you use your smartphone for something useful (or just a bit different than browsing TikTok or YouTube for hours).
Today, digital transformation is changing almost every area of everyday life for smartphone users. Sure, the small screens that we always have with us are in most cases a source of entertainment, but there are applications that really save lives and it's not just about YouTube, which will allow you to quickly find an instructional video showing how to perform the Heimlich maneuver when a dog chokes. However, we thought that we had already written enough about technological innovation in the field of healthcare in the last article on our blog, as well as in our extensive Failures in Digital Transformation report, which you can download for free from our website. If you have not had the opportunity to read these publications, in which there were many mentions of mHealth, we encourage you to catch up. However, taking care of the variety of content, today we decided to slightly change the point of view. In this article, we will treat saving lives not only literally but also metaphorically. The applications that we want to present to you today are simply convenient tools that facilitate many every day matters when we have a smartphone and appropriate applications in our hands. We have selected a few areas that we believe deserve special attention in 2021 and indicated mobile services that are certainly worth watching in the coming months.
Today's ranking was created for all those people who are looking for practical applications of smartphones. You know, it's not about playing Candy Crush, but real help in everyday life. However, before we go to security, productivity, and better performance, let's start with the tool that was created for the entertainment industry. However, this is not another Match-3, a social network or music streaming. This app was created for singing exercises, which won the App Design Awards 2021 organized by Apple. NaadSadhana won the category called "App Development Innovation'', in which agencies, companies, and developers are competing for innovative processes, tools, frameworks, and new ways to work with new technologies.
What innovation has delighted the jurors from Apple? In the App Store, there was no application that would use artificial intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms to analyze the correctness of sounds in real-time. A person who exercises with the application receives instant feedback on the accuracy of notes. However, this is not everything. The application generates a real-time backing track, which harmonizes with a vocal. NaadSadhana guides a vocalist's notes and tempo using visual-bio feedback. This solution was originally developed for Indian classical singing but has already expanded to support seven different genres of music. NaadSadhana will also be useful for people who do not have accompaniment. Using artificial intelligence, algorithms will create and play music automatically when singing or playing, on over 10 instruments, tracks can also be recorded in good quality in full multi-track sessions. When awarding this app, Apple did not mention a very important benefit. The app even helps those artists who are slowly losing their hearing or are completely deaf. NaadSadhana developers have announced that they want to develop their project to help musicians of all levels, all abilities (visually impaired, hearing impaired, color blind, etc) and all cultures to practice, perform and publish their music without barriers. As you can see, maybe the app will not call us an ambulance when we fail, but there is a chance that it will save some ...singers' careers before falling.
Another app that deserves a lot of publicity is Be My Eyes. While in the case of NaadSadhan, the application for people with disabilities appeared over time, the tool you will read about in a moment was created for people who are blind and have low vision from the outset. Importantly, Be My Eyes was also appreciated at this year's Apple Design Awards. The award was granted in the Social Impact category, where projects that "improve lives in a meaningful way and shine a light on crucial issues" are awarded.
Be My Eyes helps the visually impaired and the blind by connecting them with a community of sighted volunteers who can help in difficult situations. Be My Eyes is based on modern technology and the commitment of volunteers to facilitate the processing of visual information for people who have vision problems. Through video communication, volunteers help visually impaired and blind people solve everyday problems, from comparing colors to checking if traffic lights or household appliances are working, to more complex tasks such as preparing a meal. The operation of Be My Eyes is very simple. When a blind or partially sighted person requests help in the application, sighted volunteers receive a notification. The app then connects the person in need with a volunteer who speaks the same language and is in the same time zone. A video call is automatically established with the first person to answer the call with the transmission of the image from the camera on the back of the smartphone of the person who asked for help. Thanks to the audio connection, interlocutors can determine how to solve the problem, and the volunteer becomes the eyes of a visually impaired or blind person through the camera. Be My Eyes already supports 180 languages in 150 different countries. It currently connects almost 5 million volunteers and over 319,000 blind and low-vision people.
Another application that we want to present to you is nothing new on the market. Forest has been supporting user productivity for over 7 years. This year, however, together with their community of virtual tree growers, they managed to do something great. We hope that in the long term, their feat will literally help save lives on our planet…
Almost from the beginning of its existence, the creators of Forest support Trees For The Future. Over the past 30 years, this non-profit organization has planted over 145 million trees in dozens of countries and revitalized hundreds of thousands of acres of soil while improving the lives of thousands of families. At the beginning of 2021, Forest organized an action consisting of liking and sharing posts on social media as part of the "One Million Tree Challenge" campaign. They pledged to donate real trees in exchange for interactions from Facebook and Twitter users. Within 3 days, the milestone of one million was reached. Thus, the organization Trees For The Future has acquired a million real trees that will make our planet green. Admittedly, it's a brilliant idea for contextual marketing. Why? Forest is a productivity app that helps people beat their phone addiction and manage their time better. Users grow virtual trees that only grow when they are focused on their responsibilities and not using the distractions of the Internet. As you can see, the poetic vision of the fight against procrastination has penetrated the real world and allowed the community to do something good. We hope there will be even more of these actions with the growing community of Forest.
Let's stop for a moment on the thread that connects innovative applications and plants. People who care about greenery around them or deal with gardening have long been noticed by the creators of mobile applications. Machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence are perfect for identifying plants using a camera built into a smartphone. However, we have noticed an application that helps to save plants grown in our homes. Nobody is born a gardener, and growing flowers in small apartments or on balconies is, contrary to appearances, a huge challenge. Potted plants are often picky, and inexperienced growers have no idea what they're doing wrong (unless they just forget to water). And here comes the Planta application with its uncompromising and all-saying slogan: "Never kill a plant again".
The application allows you to catalog your plants and conveniently analyze them for specific needs, such as sunlight or the frequency of watering. Planta will send you the appropriate push notifications in order not to forget anything. There will also be very detailed tips adapted to different plant species, which can actually translate into the fact that even the least responsible home gardeners will save the lives of their plants that are withering for unknown reasons. More advanced users will also find fertilizing, misting, repotting, and pruning instructions. Oh, and there is also the function of identifying plants with the smartphone camera, which we mentioned earlier, supplemented with measurements of the light level in the room. In a word, full-service gardening!
In times of digital transformation, we use so many different platforms, services, and applications that it would be difficult to use hard-to-break passwords everywhere and remember them in your head. Writing them down on cards or in calendars that often accompany us outside the home is a risky move. However, it cannot be denied that sometimes the application may ask us for a password at the least expected moment (they sometimes like to log us out of the account for no reason), and then knowing the password is a matter of life and death (or simply lost time and nerves). This is when password managers come to the rescue - secure applications that allow them to be aggregated in one place.
In January 2021, U.S. News & World Report selected Bitwarden as "best password manager". In February CNET recommended Bitwarden as “the best free app for password synchronization across multiple devices”, while Lifehacker recommended it as “the best password manager for most people”. The app has been on the market since 2016, but it looks like it took some time to break through the competition and finally hit the spotlight. And this is completely deserved. Bitwarden, unlike many competitors, offers a free suite of features that will satisfy most people looking for a multi-platform password manager. The data is protected with end-to-end encryption, and the open-source code ensures full transparency and further encourages the global developer community to work together to improve this product. Bitwarden conducts regular third-party security audits and is compliant with Privacy Shield, HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, and SOC 2 security standards. Importantly, the application works not only on iOS and Android but also on Windows, Mac, Linux, and many browsers (including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge). If you want to use strong passwords, have easy access to them and protect them from unauthorized persons, and not pay a monthly subscription - Bitwarden is the solution for you!
The last application in our ranking is a position that should be obligatorily installed in every smartphone instead of many much less necessary tools that we get in the package with the Android or iOS operating system. It is signed with the official logo of The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, i.e. the world's largest humanitarian network. The First Aid - IFRC application has been prepared in such a way that the available data complies with the guidelines of 100 different countries. Regardless of where you use it, you will receive guidance in a specific language. It is also worth adding that for some countries whole separate applications are available, instead of specific modules for First Aid - IFRC.
The mobile application will guide you step by step through first aid for such situations as bone fractures, burns, heart attacks, head injuries, stroke, hypothermia, and many more. There is content in the form of text and videos. There are also tips on how to prepare for various accidents and tests to check whether a person may actually have symptoms of a specific ailment. There are also emergency numbers that allow you to call the necessary services that can provide help. This app should be on your smartphones especially when you travel outside your country!
So this is our collection of life-saving apps. Let us know if you want to read more of these publications on our blog. Or maybe you've discovered apps this year that you might consider a real game-changer in your life? Share your suggestions with us in the comments section!