Photo: Ariel Schalit
KIRYAT MALACHI, ISRAEL — Adi Pito and his friend Avi Genasia were checking out the damage from the first – and so far only – fatal rocket attack of the past week when there was a deep rumble on the horizon.There was also a buzz from Mr. Genasia’s iPhone. A rocket had been fired from Gaza.
Thanks to colour Red, a new app thought up by a 13-year-old, Israelis all over the country know exactly when and where each rocket is headed.
The geeky solution for Israel‘s more than 3 million residents threatened by rocket fire isn’t the first time Israel’s high-tech prowess has been applied to its security threats. In fact, much of Israel’s innovation economy – which is considered second only to Silicon Valley – is spurred by the demands of its military and related security industries.
Perhaps adversity whets Israel’s competitive edge, as suggested by the 2009 best-seller Start-Up Nation. According to Israeli press reports, the young teenager behind colour Red is from Beersheva, one of the cities that bears the brunt of Gaza rocket fire – and thus pops up most frequently on the app.
You can choose to have all alerts sent to your phone, or just those for areas you select from a long list – all in Hebrew. The system efficiently delivers its notifications based off the government’s public warning alerts.
Depending on where Israelis live, they have between 15 and 90 seconds to reach a bomb shelter once the sirens begin to wail. Lately, the sirens have been followed by a large BOOM as Israel’s Iron Dome system kicks in.
Apps may not blunt the rockets, but it’s nice to know where they’re falling – and where they’re not.
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