Guest Post by James Sweet: How Parse Saved Me Time and Money

N-1-1It’s always refreshing to see mobile technology being used to help people. Today we have a guest post for you from developer James Sweet, who used Parse to build a prototype of a mobile app that helps people in emergencies by connecting them to nearby EMTs, medical professionals, and other first responders. He is based in Virginia, near Washington D.C.

His idea was recently selected as one of three finalists out of 2,000 competing companies to present their disruptive ideas at the The Economist’s Innovation Forum in Berkeley, California on March 28, 2013.

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How Things Came to Parse

The lowest offer I got from any mobile app development company to build my Minimally Viable Product was $10,000, and it would take at least a month to build. However, the only reason I considered contracting out some of my development work was because setting up a virtual server with a database and handling push notifications is a headache. I estimated the learning curve would take me months. 

Luckily, though, I found Parse through a mobile app development company called Citrrus.  Once I found Parse, I was able to build a basic version of my app in just over a week and at no monetary cost. Now that I know what I’m doing, I can build similar apps with Parse in a day.

How Parse Helped

  • For rapid prototyping Parse can’t be beat. They handle well solved problems that I would otherwise have to spend a lot of time troubleshooting. They even have built in point in polygon queries for sending push notifications to users in a geofence. New features are constantly being added to their SDK, and they are listening very closely to suggestions from the community.
  • Amazingly, their customer service is even better than Amazon’s. Whenever I’ve have a question, I talk to the same person each time. It’s been great not having to re-explain things to different people. I’ve always gotten a quick response from support and am rarely passed around to different departments or people.
  • Parse made it easy to try their platform without committing. I’ll have to acquire a LOT of users before I get anywhere near the push notification or data caps on my free account. Parse also lets me export my data to my own machine in JSON format whenever I feel like it.

About My App, N-1-1

My app is called N-1-1 and in an emergency it lets people alert nearby off duty EMTs, medical personal, and other responders who can quickly come to provide aid.

All the things needed for N-1-1’s MVP were built into the Parse SDK. Push notificatons, querying by geofence, user management, and an API.

 

Visit James’ site about N-1-1 here and view his presentation at The Economist’s Innovation Forum here.

Courtney Witmer
April 26, 2013
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