Community, personal safety social network MyHero powers up
By A. Asohan January 20, 2015
- Android version officially launched, iOS version out in February
- To be spun off, looking to develop technologies for ‘smarter communities’
MALAYSIAN mobile social network MyHero is looking to power up, having just moved its Android app from beta to an official launch and with an iOS version slated for a mid-February release, while the team behind it is looking to spin off into a separate company and go regional.
MyHero started life as a project under Dino Media Asia, operated by Webvance Sdn Bhd, a venture established in 2012 to develop digital media platforms and incubate new tech-based startups.
According to cofounder Chan Wei Chi, the MyHero team currently comprises 12 people, and it seeks to go beyond its community and personal safety focus in the future.
“We do have plans to spin it off as a separate company in due time, and to focus on developing technology for creating smarter cities and communities,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) via email.
“The team does have intentions of scaling beyond Malaysia, but our focus currently is to establish a strong local presence before moving outwards,” he added.
MyHero, not to be confused with Singapore’s MyHero Limited which developed the mobile stock market simulation app TradeHero, describes itself as a community-oriented social networking platform.
Its features allow users to report and share incidents such as crime, traffic, disasters or accidents within the vicinity to alert other users within the area.
The app launched after the MyHero team secured RM500,000 (approximately US$140,000) seed capital from a private investor.
“Moving forward, we are definitely looking for funding upon meeting projected milestones for our current phase,” said Chan.
“This additional funding will be used for talent acquisition, further research and development into hardware integration, as well as overseas expansion further down the line,” he added.
The app connects the community in an area with neighbourhood groups, workplaces, as well as welfare, security and government agencies, according to MyHero in its official statement.
When asked how many neighbourhood groups, and how many and which agencies, have come on board, Chan said, “We are in talks with community groups and the authorities, and we are planning to have an official announcement on this collaboration later this quarter.”
To encourage reliable and active community groups in the app, community leaders are screened by the MyHero team before given the permission to start a group, the company said in its official statement.
These registered community leaders will then be able to access the admin portal to moderate posted reports, post official announcements, post events and view general analytics.
Appointed community leaders will also be able to collect the particulars of residents interested in participating in the group, and the MyHero team will work hand-in-hand with community leaders to register them via physical postcards with unique verification codes, or direct verification and registration through the online platform.
iOS delay, web version
The iOS version has been in development since at least March last year, but MyHero was delayed in launching it.
“The iOS version is being built with a different interface to match the simpler and cleaner look of [Apple Inc’s operating system],” said Chan (pic).
“One major setback in our development of the iOS app was the launch of the iPhone 6 and iOS 8. The iOS version has been submitted for review, and we are looking to launch before mid-February,” he added.
MyHero is also available as a web version. With all the excitement over mobile-first strategy, why did MyHero bother with a web version at all?
“Malaysians carry at least one smart device with them at all times. This inspired the team to build a safety community app, where users are always connected to the community within the area, and so that they can reach out if they need help,” said Chan.
“No doubt, a lot of interaction is moving to mobile as the mobile ecosystem continues to develop in Malaysia.
“However, we are also aware that a lot of our users are young adults and working people, who spend a lot of their time in front of laptops or desktop PCs, so there is a need for a web version as well.
“The web version also eliminates the need to download and register for the app, so users can actually view public reports without needing to sign up,” he added.
The web version is optimised for Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Safari, as well as for mobile browsing, according to Chan.
“One main difference in the web version is that it is less bulky, as we reduced a few of the side features found in the app, which makes it also suitable for lower-end smart devices,” he said.
Built and designed with safety in mind, the MyHero app comes with features that help users monitor, report and send distress calls to friends and family, and people within the area.
These features include:
- Community groups: Users can create private groups and add others in the vicinity to encourage safety sharing and report incidents in the surrounding area.
- Geolocation SOS: Users can send a distress signal with geolocation-based technology to selected friends and family through SMS and in-app push notification when they have an emergency.
- Geolocation reports: Users can use this feature to report crimes, accidents or incidents in the area to alert users within the vicinity; other users will see the report on their feeds.
- Geolocation news feed: Users will be able to read the recent incidents reported by other users within the vicinity, and stay updated on what and which areas to avoid.
- Monitor: Lets users see any reports within the map of the surrounding area should they need to further pinpoint the location where an incident happened. The feature also allows users to see their friends on the map.
The MyHero The app is currently available on the Google Play Store for download. The beta version was rolled out early last year, and users could only register for an account by invitation-only.
“As we proceeded to open the beta to the public recently, the amount of downloads grew to 10,000 with over 800 to 1,000 monthly active users,” said Chan.
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