Posted by Leticia Lago – Developer Marketing
Álvaro’s childhood confinement to a house following a devastating earthquake inspired him to research and improve the effects of a devastating earthquake in Mexico. Using SkyAlert technology, sensors detect and report warnings of impending earthquakes, giving people valuable time to prepare and get to safety.
Alvaro shares his story in our #WeArePlay film, which features the founders and innovators behind the apps and games that inspire on Google Play. We caught up with him to find out what inspired him for SkyAlert, the app’s impact and what his future plans are.
What was the motivation behind SkyAlert?
Living in Colima near the epicenter of the earthquake had a big impact on me as a child. I remember feeling powerless over nature and watching everything I was most exposed to crumble around me. It amazes me how fast and smart you have to be to get to a safe place on time. I remember one time hugging my family and looking out to sea at the incoming tsunami – luckily it didn’t hit my region too badly. It was at this moment that I decided to find out what caused this disaster and what could be done to prevent it from being so destructive again.
In my research, I learned that Mexico sits on five tectonic plates and is therefore particularly prone to earthquakes. In fact, there have been seven major earthquakes in the past seven years, killing hundreds. Reducing earthquake risk is my number one goal and the motivation behind SkyAlert. We hope the technology we’ve developed can detect early signs of earthquakes, deliver alerts to vulnerable people, and save lives.
How exactly does SkyAlert work?
SkyAlert collects data from a network of sensors and translates that data into alerts. People can enter their zip code to check for updates for their area. We are constantly investing in the most reliable and fastest technology so that we can make the service as up-to-date and efficient as possible.
Have you always thought you would be an entrepreneur?
I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur from a young age. This was inspired by my grandfather who ran a large candy company with factories all over Mexico. However, what I really wanted beyond running my own company, was to make a positive social impact and change lives for the better: something I am proud to have achieved with SkyAlert.
How is Google Play helping your app grow?
Being on Google Play helps us reach the maximum number of people. We’ve had some amazing numbers over the past 10 years with over 7 million downloads on Google Play. With 35% of our revenue coming from Google Play, this reach has helped us invest in new technologies and sensors.
We also often receive advice from Google Play and they invite us to meetings to tell us how to do better and how to use the platform. Google Play is a close partner that we feel truly cares about.
How did SkyAlert affect the people of Mexico?
The biggest benefit of SkyAlert is that it can help you prepare for an earthquake. In the year In 2017, we were able to alert people to a massive earthquake 12 seconds before it hit Mexico City. At least in those few seconds, many managed to get themselves to a safe place. Similarly, during a major earthquake in Oaxaca, we were able to provide more than a minute’s warning by having teachers in schools move students away from infrastructure – saving children’s lives.
Many also find that having SkyAlert on their phone gives them peace of mind, knowing they will have some warning before an earthquake strikes. This can be very reassuring.
What does the future look like for SkyAlert?
We are working hard to expand our services to new disaster areas such as floods, hurricanes and wildfires. The hope is to become an international company that can provide alerts on various natural phenomena in countries around the world.
About Alvaro and other inspiring app and game founders featured in #WeArePlay.
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