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.

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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

 

 

Interview with Zello’s CEO and CTO

By Nancy on April 18, 2015

Bill Moore CEO and Alex Gavrilov CTO were recently interviewed about Zello on the VOIP Users Conference Show, April 17, 2015. Find out about the origins of Zello and how Zello affects people from around the world.

http://www.voipusersconference.org/2015/vuc537-zello-ceo-bill-moore/

Zello Joins Forces with Pathfinders for Autism

By nayeli on October 20, 2014

Recently, we had the privilege of working with the non-profit group, Pathfinders for Autism, and found it truly inspiring. Based in Maryland, Pathfinders for Autism, provides resources for autistic individuals and parents of autistic kids who need critical service providers. The organization conducts awareness campaigns throughout the year advocating for individuals with autism.

One of their biggest events is the annual “Run Wild For Autism” event held at the Maryland Zoo in September. The event has grown 30% from last year and over 1200 participants were expected this year. Since the event is held over a vast area, coordinators require reliable communications. In the past, 2-way radios were used for communications, but they were very expensive and bulky to carry. Since the non-profit could only afford four 2-way radios for staff members, none of the volunteers could communicate with the staff or each other.

With the increased staffing needed for this year’s event, the group realized they could not afford to add more 2-way radios and looked for a more affordable option. Luckily, a member of the group was using Zello in his work for a security company, and suggested Zello as an alternative. Instead of investing more money on costly radios, they decided to give Zello a try.

Two weeks before the event, the staff downloaded Zello and created a “Pathfinders for Autism” channel. They purchased low cost Bluetooth headsets so they could hear better during the event. After a successful trial, they decided to abandon their radios and just use Zello on their smartphones. For the first time ever, they were able to connect all the staff and many volunteers on one network. Plus, they didn’t have to lug 2 devices around anymore.

“Zello was a huge improvement…It was super accessible, very easy, affordable… I highly recommend it!” exclaimed Jennifer Hobbs, fund development associate. The event was very successful and raised over $52,000!

Couldn’t make this event? You can still help by donating through their website. www.pathfindersforautism.org.

Their next event is “An Evening of Celebrity Fashion and Fun 2014”. You can register here.

Do you have a non-profit group? Then, contact us at sales@zello.com! Let’s discuss how we can help your next fundraiser.

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