screenshot_2013-12-12-14-21-54 Voyager Innovations, Inc. (Voyager), a subsidiary of mobile leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), announced today the availability of RaincheckPH, the first locally produced mobile app that promotes rain and hazards preparedness among Filipinos. With data coming from the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards), the RaincheckPH app can predict with 95% accuracy the probability of rain down to the city level within a four-hour period. The app, initially available for Android phones, is the first step in getting Filipinos ready for bigger hazards and natural calamities that affect the Philippines year in and year out. “We are all well aware of how destructive typhoons can get once they make landfall, as we’ve seen in what happened in the Visayas with super typhoon Yolanda,” noted Benjie Fernandez, Chief Operating Officer of Voyager. “But we also know that even monsoon rains can cause major destruction in some parts of the country, as we’ve seen here in Metro Manila in the past few years.” By making users aware of oncoming rain within their vicinity, Fernandez said the app can help Filipinos develop a culture of preparedness for any type of weather hazards or other forms of disasters, no matter how small the impact may be on their surroundings. Covering close to 70 cities around the country, the RaincheckPH app quickly alerts users through a pop-up notification whenever the probability of rain in their current location reaches 50% within the next four hours. This gives users enough lead time to prepare for the oncoming downpour or, as the app’s name suggests, take a “rain check” on any activity planned outside their homes. The app’s simple, color-coded design also means mobile users wouldn’t have a hard time understanding the rain alerts for their specific locations. “With the RaincheckPH app, Filipinos can receive timely and accurate information about rain and other hazards within their vicinity so they can always be prepared,” explained Dr. Mahar Lagmay, Executive Director of Project NOAH. “Equipping Filipinos with the proper tools and mindset to prepare for these natural disasters has always been the main goal of Project NOAH from the start—and this new and innovative mobile app helps in achieving that.” ‘Nowcasting’ Launched in 2011 after the devastation caused by Typhoon Sendong in Northern Mindanao, Project NOAH operates more than 700 sensors that gather a variety of weather information all around the country. Aside from probability of rain, users can also get real-time data on temperature, weather conditions, amount of rain, wind speeds and a full four-day forecast through the app—the latter being a new capability built into Project NOAH thanks to its recent acquisition of a supercomputer from technology giant IBM. To warn friends and loved ones of approaching rain and other hazards, the app also has a social media sharing feature built-in so they can share “nowcasting” details through Twitter or Facebook. In future app updates, users can also get up-to-the-minute reports on class or work suspensions in their area as delivered by InterAksyon.com, the online news portal of broadcast network TV5. Voyager is also working on building a crowdsourcing facility within the mobile app where users can report on flooded roads and other situations within their area, so other users can also take precautions and look for alternative routes to their destinations. “In times of calamities, preparedness trumps whatever measures we implement after storms ravage our towns and cities. By equipping Filipinos with tools like RaincheckPH, we can develop a culture of preparedness and a mindset that is always ready for whatever disasters that may come our way,” Fernandez added. To download the RaincheckPH app, Android smartphone users only need to proceed to the Google Play Store and search for “RaincheckPH.” For more information on this mobile innovation, please visit www.raincheck.ph and www.voyagerinnovation.com    
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