20 Mar 2020

Kaleyra SMS to Facilitate the Italian Red Cross’ Work

A brainchild of Bocconi University alumnus Dario Calogero, the new text message service developed by the team at Kaleyra for the Italian Red Cross (Croce Rossa Italiana, CRI), will relieve high traffic volumes on the organization call systems for the Coronavirus Emergency.

The Italian Red Cross was facing high call volumes with the rising number of Coronavirus cases, and the systems were overburdened. While watching the press conference by the Mayor of New York City, Bill Di Blasio, about the Coronavirus emergency, Dario had an idea to help the Italian Red Cross in a simple way. Over just a couple of days, both Kaleyra and CRI teams worked relentlessly and created a pro-bono SMS service to allow the Italian population to receive services from CRI. The toll-free number, 4353535, can be reached by all local operators, facilitating the booking of essential medical services through text messages.

Dario Calogero graduated from Bocconi University with a degree in Business Administration in 1987. He founded Ubiquity in 1999, a mobile service company that later rebranded itself as Kaleyra. “Through the toll-free number, citizens can send requests via SMS to the Red Cross using a single keyword in the message,” explained Dario, Chief Executive Officer at Kaleyra. “The text message is processed by us, and we send the request to the Red Cross. The CRI then contacts the user.” 

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. Kaleyra developed three services for the Italian Red Cross.

“The first was created to request services such as the temporary home presence of a volunteer or for the delivery of groceries or medicines. The other two services are still being implemented,” commented Pietro Calogero. “The second service will work as an auto-responder to requests for collaboration addressed to doctors and nurses, and the third will be an emergency communication platform between the CRI and its 110,000 volunteers in the area.”  

The service, activated on Sunday, March 15th, 2020, has already seen more than 5,000 text messages passing through the platform in just the first four days 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 their time and doing an amazing job over the last week. 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.”