The travel phone app that can save your life
The recent troubles in North Africa have further highlighted the importance of safety when travelling abroad. In days gone by, this would require a trip to the bookstore to buy the latest travel guide to learn about the culture of a country, the things you should expect to encounter and what to do in an emergency.
But with mobile phone technology, there is no need to stand out as a tourist clutching on to your travel bible.
The ‘Boiling Frog’ app was co-founded by Hugh Martin, a former Special Forces officer in the British Army. The app provides practical travel, safety and first aid advice for all travellers but particularly for those travelling to high risk areas.
“It was inspired by travel combined with the understanding of risk and delivering advice from the range of training courses we operate on a medium that everyone has access to, a mobile phone,” Martin said.
“We run many training courses based on travel, safety, security, first aid and driving – and we often make the point about the ‘boiling frog’ syndrome - if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump straight out but, if it is placed in cold water which is slowly brought to the boil, the frog won't sense the danger it's in until it's too late.
“In the same way we can often miss the warning signs when things gradually happen around us that could put us at risk. So the lesson here is to avoid being the boiling frog.”
The app itself has many unique and interactive features to cover all you would need to know when abroad. It gives someone the ability to plan prior to a trip – with advice and packing lists. Once at your destination, keep yourself safe with information on avoiding scams and personal safety tips
Offering advice on the most common ailments travellers suffer abroad such as sunburn, to how to act in a hostage situation, the app is certainly comprehensive. It also has excellent first aid training lessons, with a flow diagram for emergencies backed up with advice for ailments and further information about medicines with embedded videos.
A simple but vital picture dictionary is also included, so you can point and communicate whichever country you find yourself in.
Available on iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Nokia OVI the app is priced at £1.79 – a small cost to pay for something that could help to save your life.
Martin, who said he has more apps in the pipeline, stated that technology can only help the business traveller to stay safer.
“Although smartphones tend to make us dependent on technology and vulnerable when, say, the battery runs out, technology is making the world a smaller place. Smartphones make communication quicker and timelier.”
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”