Channel Best Practices during Disasters

By Nancy on September 21, 2017

While Zello has been a popular walkie-talkie PTT (push-to-talk) app since 2012 with over 110 million users worldwide, it wasn’t widely known in the United States until hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit the U.S. A grassroots effort started by the Louisiana rescue group named the “Cajun Navy” catapulted Zello into the public eye, making it the “go-to” app for civilians to use during Harvey search and rescue, recovery, and rebuilding efforts. Six million new users downloaded Zello in anticipation of hurricane Irma which targeted the Caribbean and Florida.

Unlike real walkie-talkies, Zello is free and there is no range limit as long as there is Internet access. It can reach thousands of people from anywhere in the world, in real-time, using live voice. These qualities makes it ideal for emergency and disaster events that require quick response times. It’s crowdsourcing for emergency events.

This use of Zello for disaster events was never anticipated when we created the app, but we are proud to be a part of these efforts. In the hope that Zello can be used more effectively for future disaster events, we have outlined some best practices for channels during disaster relief efforts.

WHAT ARE CHANNELS:
Zello channels are similar to CB chat rooms, except there is no range limit. Anyone can create a channel from anywhere in the world. Unlimited subscribers can join a channel from anywhere in the world. There is no limit to the number of channels one can create or join. Up to 2500 users can be active and online at a given time. Another advantage of channels over other means of communications is that it’s live voice but it’s also saved in History for later replay. All audio, photos, and text sent over the channel are stored in History on the user’s device.

DECIDE A CHANNEL STRATEGY AND NAMING STRUCTURE:
Because channels are so customizable and anyone can create one, it’s best to decide upfront what your channel setup will be to distinguish your channels from others, and then promote it on your social media (Twitter, FB, Instagram, etc). Decide on a naming convention that is clear.

During Harvey, there were many channels created where the intent of the channel was not clear. This created confusion for users who wanted to help out, but were in the wrong channel. Channels should be dedicated to one specific purpose to avoid confusion. That is, create a channel just for dispatchers to talk to rescue personnel. Create another channel for dispatchers to talk to people requesting rescue. Create a separate channel for animal rescue, another for road conditions, gas, or supply drop off, etc. Include in the channel profile description a detailed written and/or audio description of what the channel is for and who should be on it.

Separate channels into smaller regional channels if the area affected is expansive and too many users are in one channel.

One naming convention (courtesy Andy Grant) could be to use the hurricane season, hurricane name, function, region:

H17/IRMA/RescueTeams/KeyWest
H17/MARIA/RescueRequests/PuertoRico
H17/MARIA/Mapping/PuertoRico
H17/JOSE/AnimalRescue/Dominica

Or use your organization as the key identifier as in:

CajunNavy/Harvey/RescueTeams/Houston
CajunNavy/Harvey/AnimalRescue/Katy
CajunNavy/Harvey/Mapping/Houston

If you have multiple related channels, use one recognizable logo or icon in the channels profile picture to ID these channels as being related to each other. This will help users easily find your channels.

TOOLS TO HELP MANAGE CHANNELS:
Zello has a wealth of tools to make channels a safe place for people to join and communicate with each other, but the creator (owner) has to set up the channel correctly and be aware of what the channel can provide:

MODERATION TOOLS:
Owners should pay close attention when setting up channels. The channel name cannot be changed. Other than that, Zello channels are very flexible. Owner and Admins can change channel profile settings at any time. Choose a channel type and select the correct options to maximize the efficiency of your channel.

  • Select from 1 of 4 channels types depending on level of protection needed:
  • -ANYONE CAN TALK – Least protected. Anyone can listen and talk
    -ZELECT – New users can only listen. They can only talk after they’ve been made “trusted” by a Mod/Admin
    -ZELECT+ – New users cannot listen or talk. New users can only hear moderators until they’ve been made “trusted” by a Mod/Admin
    -LISTEN ONLY – Only the Owner, Mod/Admins can talk, everyone can listen.

  • Verify identity, if required, with one or both of these settings:
  • -PHONE VERIFICATION REQUIRED
    -EMAIL VERIFICATION REQUIRED

  • Add PASSWORD REQUIRED option to mission-critical channels and limit number of participants. Distribute the channel password via email, Twitter, FB or some other private means. You can change the password daily or as needed, and current users won’t need to re-enter the password.
  • Assign Admins and Moderators. The Owner (person who created the channel) should assign an adequate number of Admins/Mods to monitor the channel and block any disruptive users. Because Admins and Mods have blocking and settings access, they should be reserved to people who have shown they will be responsible
  • Use blocking tools. The Owner, Admins, and Mods can temporarily bounce, block and mute users. Admins can assign online users to become Mods. If there is a repeat offender, report them to support@zello.com to be blocked by Zello.
  • STATUS TOOLS:
    Depending on your role within a channel, you may become overwhelmed with the amount of messages coming in live. Or, you may want to take a break but not miss anything. Here are two status modes you can use to help:

    Busy mode: If you want to take a break but not miss out on communication, place yourself in Busy mode. Busy mode will place all communications in History for playback at a later time. Your RECENTS screen shows a visual notifications of messages you have received but not heard.

    Solo mode: Use solo mode when you want to focus on a single user or channel for live communications. If you are a dispatcher, use this mode to focus on your assigned channel. Communications for the chosen contact will remain live, while other channel or contact messages are placed in History for playback later.

    PHOTO TOOLS:
    It’s not unusual in crisis situations for information communicated vocally – addresses or phone numbers, for example – to be misunderstood or misplaced. Zello saves every message on your device, so you can always replay a message if needed. But if you have no time to write things down, or have no hands free, users taking a photo of that information can be a big help. Photos, like voice, are stored in the channel History.

    Photos of local conditions sent by people needing rescue can also help search and rescue teams. And because disasters also attract people with bad intentions, photos can provide a way of verifying the identity of a message sender.

    TEXTING AND CALL ALERT TOOLS:
    Zello channels and contacts have the ability to send a call alert with text instead of a photo or voice message. Call alerts will beep loudly each minute until the request is answered or dismissed. CONTACT call alerts are sent one-to-one. CHANNEL alerts go to subscribers, but have to be enabled by the channel owner under the channel options. Subscribers also have to turn on their option to receive channel alerts. Call alerts can help users quickly send their address to a dispatcher. They can also be used to send quick confirmation messages.

    LOCATION TOOLS:
    Zello users can send a map view that marks their current location. This can be very helpful in search and rescue efforts. Not only can it pinpoint the location of a person in distress, it can also help dispatchers send the most appropriate or closest team. Location sending can only be done one-to-one through CONTACTS, and not in a channel. Sharing locations can help mark a rescue team as safe or as being out of a rescue mission. You can implement procedures for rescue teams to send their location before and after a rescue to let dispatchers know they are safe.

    HURRICANE HARVEY CASE STUDY:
    For a thorough first-person account of how Zello and other tools were used during Harvey, read this excellent article by Sean Caldwell (owner of the “Harvey Mapping” channel): HARVEY RESCUE AND RECOVERY EFFORTS

    Also see Tips on Zello Communications During a Disaster

    USER GUIDES:
    For step-by-step instuctions for iOS, Android, and Blackberry, see our USER GUIDES.

    SPANISH VERSION:

    Mientras que Zello ha sido una aplicación popular estilo walkie-talkie PPH (pulsar-para-hablar) desde el 2012 con más de 110 millones millones de usuarios en todo el mundo, no era ampliamente conocida en los Estados Unidos hasta que los huracanes Harvey e Irma golpearon E.E.U.U. Un esfuerzo local iniciado por el grupo de rescate de Luisiana llamado el “Cajun Navy” catapultó Zello a los ojos del público, convirtiéndolo en la aplicación de uso para los civiles durante los intentos de búsqueda y rescate, recuperación y reconstrucción de Harvey. Seis millones de usuarios nuevos descargaron Zello en anticipación al huracán Irma, el cual apuntaba al Caribe y la Florida.

    A diferencia de los walkie-talkies reales, Zello es gratis y no hay límite de rango siempre y cuando haya acceso a internet. Puede alcanzar a miles de personas en cualquier parte del mundo, en tiempo real, usando voz en vivo. Estas cualidades lo hacen ideal para emergencias y desastres que requieren una respuesta rápida. Es una colaboración abierta distribuida para casos de emergencia.

    Este uso de Zello para casos de desastre nunca fue anticipado cuando creamos la aplicación, pero estamos orgullosos de ser parte de estos esfuerzos. En la esperanza de que Zello pueda ser usado más eficientemente en casos de desastre en el futuro, hemos trazado algunas de las mejores prácticas, para que las personas puedan estar mejor preparadas y usar Zello más eficiente y efectivamente.

    QUÉ SON CANALES:
    Los canales de Zello son similares a las salas de conversación CB, excepto que no hay límite de rango. Cualquiera puede crear un canal en cualquier parte del mundo. Sin límite de suscriptores que puedan unirse a un canal de cualquier parte del mundo. No hay límite de número de canales que alguien pueda crear o agregar. Hasta 2500 usuarios pueden estar activos y en línea al mismo tiempo. Otra ventaja de los canales por encima de otros medios de comunicación es que es voz en vivo pero también se guardan en el Historial para reproducir después. Todos los audios, fotos, y textos enviados en el canal se mantendrán en el Historial.

    DECIDE UNA ESTRATEGIA Y ESTRUCTURA PARA EL CANAL:
    Ya que los canales son tan flexibles y cualquiera puede crear uno, es mejor decidir desde un principio cuál va a ser la configuración de tu canal para distinguir tu canal de los otros, y después promoverlo en las redes sociales (Twitter, FB, Instagram, etc). Escoge una nomenclatura que sea clara.

    A lo largo de Harvey, hubieron muchos canales creados donde la intención del canal no era clara. Esto creó confusión para los usuarios que querían ayudar, pero estaban en el canal incorrecto. Los canales deben ser dedicados a un propósito en específico para evitar confusión. Es decir, crea un canal solo para que los despachadores se comuniquen con el personal de rescate. Crea otro canal para que los despachadores se comuniquen con personas pidiendo rescate. Crea un canal separado para rescate animal, otro para las condiciones de las carreteras, gasolina, o entrega de suministros, etc. Incluye en la descripción del perfil del canal una descripción de audio o escrita detallada diciendo para qué es el canal y quién debería estar en él.

    Separa canales entre canales regiones si el área afectada es muy grande y muchos usuarios están en un solo canal.

    Una nomenclatura podría usar la época de huracanes, nombre del huracán, función, región:

    H17/IRMA/EquiposDeRescate/KeyWest
    H17/MARIA/PeticionesDeRescate/PuertoRico
    H17/MARIA/Cartografía/PuertoRico
    H17/JOSE/RescateAnimal/Dominica

    Or use your organization as the key identifier as in:

    CajunNavy/Harvey/RescueTeams/Houston
    CajunNavy/Harvey/AnimalRescue/Katy
    CajunNavy/Harvey/Mapping/Houston

    Usa un logo reconocible o ícono para identificar que estos canales están relacionados. Esto va a ayudar usuarios a encontrar tu canal fácilmente.
    HERRAMIENTAS PARA AYUDAR A ADMINISTRAR CANALES:
    Zello es rico en herramientas para hacer de los canales un lugar seguro para que las personas se unan y se comuniquen entre ellos pero, el creador (dueño) tiene que configurar el canal correctamente y estar al tanto de lo que el canal puede proporcionar:

    HERRAMIENTAS DE MODERACIÓN:
    Los dueños deben prestar mucha atención cuando estén configurando canales. Los canales de Zello son muy flexibles. Los dueños y Admins pueden cambiar la configuración en cualquier momento. Escoge un tipo de canal y asegúrate de seleccionar la opción correcta para maximizar la eficiencia de tu canal.

  • Selecciona uno de 4 tipos de canal dependiendo del nivel de protección necesario:
  • CUALQUIERA PUEDE HABLAR – De menor protección
    ZELECT – Usuarios nuevos pueden escuchar y hablar después de que se les haya dado “confianza” por un Mod/Admin
    ZELECT+ – Usuarios nuevos solo pueden escuchar moderadores hasta que se les haya dado “confianza” por un Mod/Admin
    ESCUCHAR SOLAMENTE – Solo el Dueño, Mod/Admins pueden hablar, todos pueden escuchar.
    Verificar identidad, si se requiere, con una de estas configuraciones:
    VERIFICACIÓN DE NÚMERO DE TELÉFONO REQUERIDA
    VERIFICACIÓN DE CORREO ELECTRÓNICO REQUERIDA

  • Agrega la opción de REQUIERE CONTRASEÑA a canales de misión crítica y limita el número de participantes. Distribuye la contraseña del canal por correo electrónico, Twitter, FB o algún otro medio privado. Puedes cambiar la contraseña a diario o cuanto sea necesario y los usuarios actuales no necesitarán introducir la contraseña de nuevo.
  • Asigna Administradores y Moderadores. El Dueño (persona que creó el canal) debe asignar un número adecuado de Admins/Mods para monitorear el canal y bloquear cualquier usuario disruptivo. Ya que los Admins y Mods tienen acceso a bloqueos y configuraciones, deben ser reservados para personas que han mostrado que serán responsables.
  • Usa las herramientas de bloqueo. El Dueño, Admins, y Mods pueden temporalmente rechazar, bloquear o silenciar usuarios. Admins pueden asignar usuarios en línea como Mods. Si hay un transgresor reincidente, repórtalos a support@zello.com para que sean bloqueados por Zello.
  • HERRAMIENTAS DE ESTADO:
    Dependiendo de tu cargo en un canal, puede que estés abrumado con la cantidad de mensajes llegando en vivo. O, puede que quieras tomar un descanso pero no perderte nada. Aquí están dos modos de estado que puedes usar para ayudar:

    Modo Ocupado: Si quieres tomar un descanso pero no perder nada de comunicación, pon tu estado en modo Ocupado. El modo Ocupado pondrá toda comunicación en el Historial para reproducir después. Tu pantalla de Recientes muestra una notificación visual de mensajes que has recibido pero no has escuchado.

    Modo Solitario: Usa el modo solitario cuando quieras enfocarte en un solo usuario o canal para comunicación en vivo. Si eres un despachador, usa este modo para enfocarte en tu canal asignado. La comunicación para el usuario elegido se mantendrá en vivo, mientras otras transmisiones se pondrán en el Historial para reproducir cuando lo desees.


    HERRAMIENTAS DE FOTOS:
    No es inusual en situaciones de crisis que información comunicada verbalmente – direcciones o números de teléfono, por ejemplo – sean malentendidas o extraviadas. Zello guarda todos los mensajes en tu dispositivo, por supuesto, así que siempre puedes reproducir un mensaje si lo necesitas. Pero si no tienes tiempo de escribir cosas, o no tienes manos libres, tomar una foto de la información es de mucha ayuda. Fotos, como voz, son guardadas en tu dispositivo.
    Fotos de condiciones locales enviadas por personas necesitando rescate también pueden ser de ayuda para grupos de búsqueda y rescate. Y ya que los desastres también atraen gente con malas intenciones, las fotos pueden dar una manera de verificar la identidad de quien envía el mensaje.

    HERRAMIENTAS DE TEXTO Y ALERTA:

    Los canales y contactos de Zello tienen la habilidad de enviar alertas-texto en lugar de una foto o mensaje de voz. Para un canal, alertas del canal deben ser habilitadas por el dueño del canal en las opciones de canal.
    Aletas-texto pueden ayudar para que usuarios envíen su dirección al despacho. También pueden ayudar para mensajes de comunicación rápidos.

    HERRAMIENTAS DE UBICACIÓN:
    Los usuarios de Zello pueden enviar una visión de mapa que marca su ubicación actual con considerable precisión. Esta capacidad puede ser muy útil para intentos de búsqueda y rescate. No solo puede señalar la ubicación de una persona en peligro, sino también ayudar a despachadores a enviar el equipo más cercano o apropiado.

    El envío de ubicación solo se puede hacer uno-a-uno por medio de CONTACTOS, y no en un canal. Compartir ubicación puede ayudar a hacer un equipo de rescate seguro, o fuera de la misión de rescate. Puedes implementar procedimientos para equipos de rescate para enviar su ubicación antes y después de un rescate para que los despachadores sepan que están a salvo.

    HURRICANE HARVEY CASE STUDY:
    For a thorough first-person account of how Zello and other tools were used during Harvey, read this excellent article by Sean Caldwell (owner of the “Harvey Mapping” channel): HARVEY RESCUE AND RECOVERY EFFORTS

    Also see Tips on Zello Communications During a Disaster

    USER GUIDES:
    For step-by-step instuctions for iOS, Android, and Blackberry, see our USER GUIDES.

    Did You Know Zello Can Be Used with Hearing Aids?

    By Nancy on May 30, 2017

    Frankly, we never did until one industrious 16-year-old came across our radar last March. Zello has always strived to be fully blind-accessible, and we have many users who are visually impaired and use Zello with VoiceOver. Our Support team often helps visually impaired users, but when Linn Ayers contacted Support in March, she was wondering how to use Zello with her son’s hearing aid. We had no experience with hearing aids and didn’t know how to answer her question. We asked for more information to try to help but, luckily for us, her son Bryan had already figured it out. That’s when we first heard of this amazing young man’s story, and we wanted to share it so that others could benefit.

    Bryan’s story began 16 years ago when he was born in Mobile, Alabama. He and his twin, Andrew, were the pride and joy of their parents, Linn and David Ayers. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary until around age 2, when Andrew started talking but Bryan did not. Bryan seemed to ignore his parents and did not respond to verbal cues like Andrew did. After seeing multiple doctors and specialists, Bryan was diagnosed as being severely hearing impaired. Bryan was immediately fitted with hearing aids and started regular speech therapy. Today, as a result of this early intervention, Bryan’s hearing impairment is not readily apparent to most people. Bryan speaks normally, and his hearing is near-normal with the help of some pretty high-tech hearing aids.

    The hearing aid Bryan uses is the model Oticon OPN2, a small over-the-ear model which uses Bluetooth technology to pair to his iPhone 5. Using a special app with the hearing aid, Bryan can listen to music or other audio. He can also use Zello, which is something we were not aware of. After pairing the hearing aid to his phone, Bryan could install Zello and then simply pick the hearing aid as the remote device to use from the Zello app. By using Zello with the hearing aid, Bryan can talk and listen to others remotely while also listening to his surroundings – this was crucial to his volunteering efforts at the SouthSounds Music Festival held in Mobile last April.

    David Ayers had been involved in music festivals for years. This year, Bryan volunteered to help out backstage, alongside his dad. Other volunteers on the loading team were already using Zello for communications. They could use an earpiece in one ear for Zello and hear their surroundings with the other ear. This would not work for Bryan, as he needed the hearing aid to hear his surroundings.

    The crew suggested Bryan try Zello out and see if it was compatible with his hearing aid. Fortunately, the Oticon hearing aid and Zello worked perfectly together. Bryan could talk and listen to fellow team mates while still hearing what was going on around him. Bryan’s dad was so impressed, he started to get his colleagues at work to use Zello. Here’s a shot of Bryan working backstage with Zello:

    Bryan is a very busy young man and nothing slows him down. He continues to excel at school, has an engineering internship, and participates in a number of extra-curricular activities where perfect hearing is usually a prerequisite. He is in the high school jazz band and is also the drummer in a 4-piece rock band named Stereo Dogs. The band plays gigs around Mobile and has a new music video and CD available on their website. Check them out and support this very talented group of teens!

    In addition to supporting the Opticon hearing aid, Zello has tested and certified many accessories for high-noise and hands-free use. We are constantly adding vendors and devices to this list. If you would like to suggest an accessory to add, please contact us at sales@zello.com, or if you are developing an accessory to run with Zello, read our guidelines here.

    Russia Blocks Zello – UPDATE 4/13/17

    By Nancy on April 13, 2017

    The core Zello voice services are functioning again, circumventing the Russian block with the exception of image sharing. The zello.com website and password recovery services are not available in Russia.

    The Zello team is working on updates to resolve these issues. However, there is the possibility the Russian government and compliant Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will impair services again.

    Russia Blocks Zello

    By Nancy on April 13, 2017

    This evening, Russia blocked Zello. This action follows a notice we received last week from the Russian regulator Roskomnadzor that Zello is not in compliance with a law that governs information distribution brokers (Article 10.1 of the Federal Law of 27.07.2006 number 149-FZ).

    “Information distribution broker” is how the Russian law describes Internet communications services and includes messenger apps, email providers, and social networks. The law requires that all such services store all application messages and user data in Russia. We would be required to provide this data to law enforcement upon their request. We would also provide law enforcement with the means of surveillance on Zello conversations globally and would have to share all Zello encryption keys with FSB, the Russian state security organization.

    These are requirements that we are not able to meet or willing to comply with, even if we could.

    Zello is popular in Russia, with more than 400,000 active users there. Like Zello users everywhere, Russians use the app to connect with family members and friends and to participate in social, political, and humanitarian conversations and events. But it is also used by search and rescue personnel, taxi services, law enforcement, and drivers needing assistance.

    No other global service would be willing to meet this Roskomnadzor law. We cannot speculate why the Russian government is blocking their citizens’ communication through Zello.

    Besides Zello, the only other major service known to be blocked is LinkedIn, which also refused to comply with the Roskomnadzor and has been blocked in Russia since November 2016.

    Zello Channels are a powerful feature of the app which makes it easy to create groups for public or private conversations. Large numbers of Zello users in Ukraine, Hong Kong, Venezuela, Turkey, and Egypt have relied on Zello to organize democratic political movements in their countries.

    Russians who rely on Zello should use VPN solutions to continue using Zello. Zello is working on deploying technology to circumvent the block.

    Bill Moore
    CEO Zello

    Related press coverage from the Roskomnadzor warning last week:
    https://globalvoices.org/2017/04/10/russia-blocks-walkie-talkie-app-zello-as-truckers-strike/
    https://en.crimerussia.com/gromkie-dela/roskomnadzor-blocked-zello-app-used-by-striking-truckers/

    Story about trucker strike with Zello mention
    https://therussianreader.com/tag/zello-walkie-talkie-app/

    News from Venezuelan block of Zello
    News from Ukraine use of Zello

    Zello Celebrates 100 Million Users!

    By Nancy on February 1, 2017


    It took us almost 9 years to do it, but Zello registered users now exceed 100,000,000! We are very proud and excited about this achievement and want to share it with our Zello fans. Without the support generated through word-of-mouth by our users, we could not have attained this major milestone.

    A Little Zello Trivia

    Zello started out as “Loudtalks” in Russia back in 2007. The original Loudtalks application was designed for Windows PC, and allowed users to communicate instantly with friends by pushing and holding a hot key. You can still get Zello for Windows from our website. After the official launch on September 17, 2007 at the TechCrunch40 Conference in San Francisco, the service retained a low profile with about 10,000 registered users in the first three months. While traction was slow, the team kept improving the product and introducing new features, all while running the service from a single $200/month server hosted in Houston, TX at ThePlanet.

    Everything changed with the release of Loudtalks for Blackberry. It was the first voice communications app on that platform, providing free push-to-talk (PTT) using any carrier network or WiFi. The Loudtalks Blackberry app drew over two million users within the first three weeks of its launch. The little side project was now a full-blown startup venture.

    In early 2012, the Loudtalks team permanently relocated to Austin, TX where Loudtalks was rebranded and relaunched as Zello that February. Bill Moore (former founder and the CEO of TuneIn Radio) became the CEO of the newly incorporated, U.S. based company. From the original team of three in 2007, Zello has grown to a team of 16 – still small considering the size of Zello’s user base. Only eight developers support over 100 million users worldwide.

    Zello adds ZelloWork, Hardware Vendors, and Software Developer Program

    In addition to the free consumer app, we have a paid subscription service called ZelloWork. ZelloWork provides PTT solutions for enterprise and mid-size businesses around the world; it is rapidly becoming the go-to solution for businesses trying to update antiquated radio systems. Major companies such as Starwood, Marriott, W Hotels, Restoration Hardware, IKEA, YRC Freight, Hubspot, and Honda use ZelloWork.

    Zello has worked with numerous hardware vendors to offer our users a wide selection of hands-free and enhanced audio solutions. See Zello Accessories for the full list of supported accessories. In addition, Zello has recently added an ISV Developer Program. Third party developers can now integrate ZelloWork into their own apps using SDKs and APIs available from the ZelloWork Developer Program.

    Our Users are our Priority

    Since its launch, Zello has remained totally free, ad-free and spam-free – and we plan to keep it that way. As we expand and improve our products and services, Zello will continue to remain focused on optimizing the user experience, ensuring a high-quality product, and providing top-notch support. We love hearing from our fans who are using Zello for good causes. Whether it’s connecting people with similar goals/ideologies, reducing crime in neighborhoods, or rescuing people during natural disasters, we are proud that Zello has been chosen to be part of these efforts.

    If you are using Zello to improve your community, or have any suggestions on how to take Zello to the next milestone of 1 billion users, we’d love to hear from you! You can send suggestions to info@zello.com or support@zello.com.

    Thanks for the Zello Love!

    The Power of Zello Channels

    By Nancy on November 28, 2016

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    Most people know Zello as an app that turns their smartphones, tablets, and PCs into a walkie-talkie. With Zello, you can talk to your family, friends, and colleagues instantly without dialing a phone number. It’s faster and safer than texting, and it doesn’t use phone minutes. Zello is often thought as just another messaging walkie-talkie type app. But there is one unique feature in Zello that sets it apart from other messaging apps… It’s a feature called “channels.”

    What are channels? Well, some people liken them to big IRC channel chat rooms or CB radio channels. But there are big differences between Zello channels and these platforms. No other messaging app has a feature comparable to channels. It’s a feature that is probably ahead of its time, but more users are discovering its power to reach people globally in a matter of seconds.

    Zello channels are not messaging group chats. Typically, so-called “group chat” apps are not chats at all. That is, you are not “chatting” (talking) to other people. Instead, you are texting to other people. Also, these group chats are usually limited to people who know each other or have been invited. Even if voice-based, messaging group chats are often limited to recordings of voice messages being queued and sent one at a time. Zello channels go beyond the capabilities of most messaging apps:

    How does a Zello Channel Differ from Messaging Group Chats?

    – It’s instant, live voice. It’s spontaneous communication, not recorded messages
    – You can remain anonymous (or not)
    – Anyone can create or join a channel in minutes
    – Channels are permanent until deleted by the owner (creator)
    – There are no distance limitations – talk to people around the corner or across the world
    – No special equipment needed – just use your smartphone, tablet, or PC
    – No FCC license needed
    – Up to 2000+ users can be online at a time, but subscriberships are unlimited
    – Channels can be public, pre-approved only, or private by using various privacy settings
    – Channels are ad-free and spam free
    – Abundance of moderation tools to block or deal with “trolls”
    – All conversations are recorded to channel history for later replay and sharing
    – You can create an unlimited number of channels
    – And most importantly, it’s FREE to use!

    The power in channels lies in its unique ability to bring vast numbers of people together quickly to one central communications space. People who do not know each other and live thousands of miles apart can instantly band together to communicate and coordinate. It’s rather like having your own public radio station. You control the content, who is allowed to participate, and when you broadcast. You can send channel alerts to subscribers to alert them about upcoming events on the channel. You can also share images and text messages on the channels.

    Channels can literally change peoples’ lives. Since Zello’s launch in 2012, many channels have been used to accomplish things not normally possible without a major communications network or specialized equipment. Zello users have used channels to foster life-long friendships and facilitate positive changes in their communities. We want to showcase a few of these channels, in the hope that it inspires you to create your own channel and do some amazing things…

    Here is just a sampling of the types of channels that can be found on Zello now, with examples of notable channels highlighted. Search for them at Zello Channels and check them out:

    Social Radio: Entertainment and information channels to pass time and meet people
    Ring of Fire
    Nonstop Talk
    The Survival Podcast Network
    Scoopfm

    Trucker channels
    Uber and Lyft channels
    Faith-based channels

    Political Action/Social Causes: Open platforms for free and un-censored political discussion
    Venezuela Hasta los Tuetanos
    Venezuela..Libre

    Jounalist channels

    Public Safety and Information: Community watch groups, traffic and emergency information
    Centurion Concerned Citizens
    Witbank 911
    Red Emergencias Biobio Chile
    Radio Emergencia
    DriveGp.

    Airport parking channels
    Storm trackers and severe weather
    Search and rescue

    Volunteer Causes: Bringing community together for good causes
    CajunNavy
    UK Star Bikers

    Charity events

    Gamers and Hobbyists: Channels for people with common hobbies and interests
    Infinite Flight Pilots
    Ingress anomaly events
    Car club channels
    Fishing tournaments
    Paragliding
    Cycling clubs

    If you have a unique channel that is making a difference in people’s lives, we’d love to hear about it! Drop us a note at support@zello.com with a link to your channel.

    Zello Attends IWCE Convention in Las Vegas

    By Nancy on April 8, 2016

    zello-iwce-nayeli

    We showcased Zello for Work at the International Wireless Communications Expo held March 21-25, 2016 in Las Vegas. The IWCE is the premier event for communications technology professionals. Over 7,000 individuals attend from a diverse group of government, public safety, utility, transportation and business enterprise markets. Our booth drew in many visitors, and it was a great success! For the first time, mobile apps were featured as a separate category at the IWCE, and Zello for Work was selected for the short video feature below:

    Zello at the IWCE 2016

    BigRoad: Another App making Truckers’ Lives Better While on the Road

    By Nancy on September 10, 2015

    bigroad

    We have many truckers who use Zello instead of CB radios to talk to fellow truckers – it makes life on the road a little easier. To further help ease the stress of long-haul trucking, we’ve found a fantastic little app that is a perfect complement to Zello. It’s called BigRoad, and it is a mobile logging app available from Google Play and iTunes app stores. BigRoad offers a simple, affordable solution for truckers who want to create electronic driver logs easily at the touch of a screen, eliminating the need for paper logbooks..

    Since its launch in 2012, BigRoad has became the most downloaded trucker app on Android, iPhone, and iPad devices. BigRoad, based in Canada, regularly works with their customers to develop features which truckers want and are simple to use. With its easy-to-use UI and cost effective solutions, BigRoad lessens the burden of creating accurate logbooks, passing vehicle inspections, and optimizing fleet operations. There are 3 levels of service available, depending on features needed: Free, Fleet, and Fleet with DashLink

    The Free app provides a basic logging solution allowing truckers to create their logs, vehicle inspections reports (DVIR), send documents, share location, and view maps with real-time traffic information. Upgrading to the Fleet version provides additional features for instant messaging, route history, mileage reporting, hours of service (HOS) summary, and data is archived per DOT regulations.

    For the ultimate in engine-connected logging, truckers can use BigRoad’s Fleet service with DashLink. DashLink is an accessory which uses Bluetooth to connect the app directly to the vehicle’s engine. DashLink senses when the vehicle is moving or stopped so that drive start and stop times are instantly recorded. This ensures an accurate record and history of duty status changes. Engine diagnostics are also available for maintenance purposes.

    All BigRoad driver logs are automatically checked for errors and verified against current regulatory guidelines for both the US and Canada, ensuring that no violations occur which can result in penalty fees. At any time, the driver can produce a driver log which is error free and ready for a DOT inspection. With DashLink installed, truckers will be ready for the upcoming Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate which is currently underway.

    Safety is another big benefit of using BigRoad. By mounting the device on the dashboard, drivers can easily view their log history and total drive hours without having to fumble with paper logbooks. Additionally, the app stores up to 14 days of logs for inspection purposes, and a full history is also available for audit purposes.

    Finally, BigRoad can save you big bucks. According to the BigRoad website, a 10-truck fleet can save over $30,000 per year by:
    – reducing HOS log audits and fines
    – eliminating expensive roadside faxing
    – offering real-time fleet tracking
    – allowing faster, compliant vehicle inspections
    – offering truck route planning
    – eliminating GPS hardware
    – preventing form and manner errors.

    So, give BigRoad a try and see how it can help make your trucking life easier… and tell all your Zello buddies too! For more information, go to www.bigroad.com

    Zello and Trimble Team Up to Improve Construction Materials Communications

    By Nancy on July 20, 2015

    TrimFleet Communicator - ALLZello is proud to announce our alliance with Trimble Construction Logistics, a major provider of fleet management solutions including real-time vehicle telematics and voice and text communications solutions for the construction materials industry. Trimble® (NASDAQ: TRMB) has today announced an updated version of their Trimble TrimFleet™ Suite 6.5  which includes the new TrimFleet Communicator with Zello. TrimFleet Communicator for TrimView and TrimFleet Mobile integrates Zello for Work functionality for improved communication, team collaboration, and productivity. TrimFleet Communicator with Zello resolves the many limitations of existing radio solutions for the industry, including poor connectivity, service, chatter, and safety.

    With the integration of Zello into TrimFleet’s TrimView and TrimFleet Mobile products, drivers have will increased connectivity. Drivers will be able to connect directly to dispatchers or other contacts one-on-one, or participate in channels with other TrimFleet users. Zello also provides TrimFleet users with a centralized history which records and archives all audio, text, and images for up to 2 years. Additionally, with Zello’s ability to run on any device and any network, TrimFleet users can now connect to company personnel other than drivers and dispatchers.

    For more information about TrimFleet 6.5 with Zello integration, please see http://www.trimble.com/news/release.aspx?id=072015bg

    Toyota Texas Bass Classic Chooses Zello for Work PTT as Tournament’s Communications Solution

    By Nancy on May 26, 2015

    We are proud that Zello for Work Walkie-Talkie app was chosen as the communications solution for the 2015 Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC). The world-famous fishing tournament was held at Lake Fork in Quitman, Texas during the Memorial Day Weekend, May 23-25, 2015. Along with the tournament, a music festival featuring country music stars was scheduled to be held later in the afternoon, providing fun and exciting activities for both anglers and non-anglers alike. Unfortunately, Sunday and Monday festival events were cancelled due to rain, but the fishing went on, and Zello continued to work even as storm and tornado warnings were in force.

    The TTBC staff evaluated many push-to-talk (PTT) communication options, but only Zello for Work offered all the features they needed for this important event:

    • Superior coverage not possible with 2-way radios

    • Ability to define groups and separate judges by assigned flights

    • Ability to talk one-to-one or one-to-many in groups of unlimited size

    • PC-based admin console allowing admins to monitor all 35 judges on the lake

    • Bluetooth headset compatibility for improved audio in a noisy environment

    • History feature with date and timestamp to replay messages when needed

    • Centralized recording archive to store all voice, text, and images shared during the event.

    During the competition, judges used Zello to expedite the weigh-in process. Each angler on the lake was accompanied by a judge connected to the Zello network using an Android smartphone. Whenever anglers caught a fish, judges used Zello’s live voice transmissions to instantly relay weights back to the Scoring Control Center on shore. This allowed staff and spectators to know who was in the lead within seconds of a catch. The instant weigh-ins also allowed the anglers to quickly release their catch, reducing trauma to the fish.

    Staff at the TTBC event was impressed by Zello’s inaugural performance at this year’s event, and it made for a very exciting and fast-paced event for all attending. Event organizer, Tim Cook, exclaimed, “Coverage on the lake with Zello is far greater than with two-way radios!”.

    Bob Baumann, Zello Director of Sales, is shown below with Tim Cook, TTBC organizer. Bob provided hands-on training to the judges and staff prior to the event.

       FullSizeRender.jpg

    About the Toyota Texas Bass Classic

    With great concerts, world class fishing and awesome activities, TTBC is the place to go for a full weekend of family fun on Memorial Day Weekend. This is the 9th year for the TTBC sponsored by Toyota. Attendance for this annual event averages in the tens of thousands. Proceeds benefit the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. For more information about the TTBC, see these social media sites:

    ·         Twitter: www.twitter.com/TxBassClassic

    ·         Facebook: www.facebook.com/ToyotaBassClassic

     

     

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