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News 23 Aug 17

Balkan Experts Create Global Warning App

At the time of insecurity over terrorism and natural disasters, a couple from Bosnia and their friend from Serbia have created a smart phone application called 'Ping' that warns users of imminent dangers in their vicinity.

Danijel Kovacevic
BIRN
Banja Luka

"Ping" was published earlier this month and was already downloaded by more than 20,000 people across the world. Photo: Pixabay

Two Bosnians and a Serb living in Zurich have come up with an app for these insecure times. "Ping" is based on a simple idea: when a user notices any danger, he/she can warn all other users with a single click on the application, one of the authors, Drazen Zigic told BIRN.

"Ping" was published earlier this month and was already downloaded by more than 20,000 people across the world, Zigic said, stressing that the application is free.

The program was created by Zigic and his wife, Ivana, couple from Banja Luka, in Bosnia, who now live in Switzerland, as doers their Serbian colleague from Belgrade, Stefan Serbedzija.

The app has been used to notify users of security issues from all over the world, from storms to robberies and shootings, Ivana said. “At one point, we were the fifth on the list of the best free social apps,” she told BIRN.

She added that, at the moment, most users of the application are in India – but some are in Bosnia and Serbia, including many of their friends and former neighbours.

The Zigics and Serbedzija live in Zurich, where they developed their idea and realized it.

The idea for the application arose in 2015 when the couple was planning a trip to Paris, at the time of the infamous terrorist attacks there.

“That attack was an impetus for us to think of something like this, since we couldn’t find anything similar on the internet,” Drazen Zigic said.

"Many people today spend their time surfing through phone apps while they are on public transport or walking down the street. And then the logical idea came - let's look for an application that could help us in such situations," Zigic added.

Using "Ping" cannot stop a bullet from being fired, or prevent an attack or a storm, but it can "add a level of security" for people in a potentially dangerous situation – and this is just the beginning – he said.

“Our plans are much larger. Currently, we only have an Android version, but, with the help of potential investors, we’ll make it even better with much more content and possibilities. Our intent is to adapt the software to smart cars and watches as well,” Zigic said.

In addition, to increase the security of people in the world, Zigic says they will try to connect the app with government institutions such as police, fire-fighters and first aid, so that people in danger can contact them more easily.

“We plan to make it possible to use the app without the internet. It might happen that a user doesn’t have an access to the internet, but that their information is still very important,” Ivana Zigic concluded.

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