02 Apr 2020

Kaleyra creates a free text-message service to help the Italian Red Cross deal with the COVID-19 emergency

Kaleyra supports the Italian Red Cross (Croce Rossa Italiana, CRI) with a free text-message servicedesigned to help volunteers and citizens dealing with the emergency caused by the spread of COVID-19.

Through a single number, 4353535, the CRI association can recruit health workers in the affected areas, effectively manage queries from citizens, as well as communicate more quickly with all its volunteers in urgent situations. The toll-free number can be reached by all local operators, facilitating the booking of essential medical services through text messages.

Apart from these specific use cases, the CRI will also be able to use Kaleyra’s versatile platform for other needs to raise awareness and provide necessary care to those affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.

“There are many challenges that this pandemic poses to the community we live in, and we want to do everything we can to help. In these trying times, the Red Cross is doing an incredible job, and we thought of putting our platform at their disposal, to support them in their fight against the Coronavirus,” explains Dario Calogero, CEO, and founder of Kaleyra. “If there are other organizations or associations out there who need a similar solution, we want them to know that we are here to help. We are prepared to use our global presence to support their initiatives to control the spread of the Coronavirus disease.”

The number, 4353535 is already active and usable through all national telephone carriers. The Red Cross is also using it to support doctors, nurses, and health workers to enhance the emergency response system in the Lombardy region. The doctors and nurses who want to give their availability have to send a simple text-message by typing “immediate doctor availability” or “immediate nurse availability.” The system will automatically send them the instructions to follow.

The text-message solution lends itself to a number of other use cases, such as the decongestion of the toll-free number, which recently faced an exceptional call load. The Kaleyra platform, in this case, helps to manage such high traffic volumes better. If a citizen finds the toll-free number to be busy, they can send a request via text-message. The text-message will be immediately processed by Kaleyra’s CPaaS platform that will then direct the request to the helpline organization. The organization, in turn, contacts the user as soon as an operator is available.

The service can also be used in particularly critical situations by the Red Cross, such as to send urgent communication instantly to all its 160,000 volunteers in the Italian territory.

The idea was conceptualized by Dario Calogero, the CEO, and founder of Kaleyra and his son Pietro while watching the press conferences by the authorities about the Coronavirus emergency. The Italian Red Cross at the time was facing high call volumes with the rising number of Coronavirus cases, and the systems were overburdened.

Together with his son Pietro and key project contributors from the Kaleyra team, the solution was developed during the days immediately after the Italian Coronavirus lockdown. Over just a couple of days, both Kaleyra and CRI teams worked relentlessly and created the pro-bono text-message service to allow the Italian population to receive services from CRI.

“The first was created to request services such as the temporary home presence of a volunteer or for the delivery of groceries or medicines,” commented Pietro Calogero. “The second service works as an auto-responder to requests for collaboration addressed to doctors and nurses, and the third is an emergency communication platform between the CRI and its volunteers in the area.”

The service, activated on Sunday, March 15th, 2020, has already seen more than 7,500 text messages passing through the platform in the first two weeks of its operation. Having coordinated the entire project from his residence in New York City, Dario added, “As a former ambulance volunteer, I am particularly proud of how our entire team in Milan is working smart, volunteering for this project, and doing an amazing job. The strength always lies in the crew. This initiative might be a small contribution, but when many businesses come together for the greater good, society really benefits. It is time for all of us to work together and use every solution we have to win this battle against Coronavirus.”