Hyper-Reach offers an emergency alert app for smartphones, as do several of our competitors. We think ours is pretty cool and has some neat features you won’t see on other apps.
But we need to be humble. As does everyone who’s created an emergency alert app for smartphones. Because the simple truth is that these things are not getting much attention from the public. As best we can tell, none of the apps provided by any mass emergency notification provider have reached even 1% of their target audience.
When we search for emergency alert apps on the iPhone and Google Play stores, a few potential reasons become obvious:
- Fragmentation. Search for “emergency alerts” and hundreds of apps come up on the Google Play site with no good way to filter through them. They include apps for specific places (Alaska, Alberta, etc.) and apps that are to sound the alert instead of receiving one. For many folks, that’s enough to stop a search altogether.
- Confusion. Hand-in-hand with fragmentation is confusion. Why install an app for emergency weather alerts if I can get weather alerts for free from another, non-emergency app? Where’s the value? It’s just not clear.
- More confusion. One of our biggest competitors shares its name with a lot of unrelated apps. Type “codered” into Google Play and you’ll see apps to “insert code into your brain” and track female menstrual cycles, among other things.
- Poor reviews. Some of the apps we consider most relevant to mass emergency notification have pretty weak ratings. 3+ out of 5 is not strong and will turn off many potential users. (Our rating is 4+, BTW.)
- Cost. Some apps charge money, while others are free. Why pay for weather alerts if I can get them free from weather.com or my local news station?
We’ve got ideas about how to fix this, or at least make the situation better. But it’s going to take work. And we’d love to share your thoughts.