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Zenly App is trying to make location-sharing cool again

Zenly-imageDo you remember good old times when you used to constantly check-in at different locations on Foursquare? After Foursquare decided to rebrand its check-in app to Swarm and Facebook check-ins became so normal that you wouldn’t even notice it anymore, location-sharing was not cool anymore.

There is however a French start-up that believes it found a way to make location-sharing awesome again. It’s called Zenly. The aim of the app is quite straightforward: you constantly share your whereabouts with your friends and in return you see where they are.

Although I don’t buy this pitch, I’m not Zenly target user group. And who is? Teenagers and apparently it’s quite popular among them. Zenly has over 1 million registered users and around 340,000 monthly active users and around 80,000 daily active users.

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Even though I don’t think that the app itself is anything really amazing, the technology behind it is where the magic happens. Frankly speaking I believe that the app is just a showcase of Zenly positioning tech.

Behind the scene, Zenly tries to save as much battery as possible. For instance, the app doesn’t track your location when nobody uses it. If a friend opens the app, then Zenly will request your location. Otherwise it stays in a sleep mode and doesn’t drain your battery almost at all. Another thing is their positioning technology which seems to be working really well and matches coordinates with address points very precisely. Then there are many other tiny features that make Zenly smarter than Foursquare and Facebook will ever be. For example users can view the battery level of their friends answering the question why someone is not answering your text message. Another useful feature is that the app allows you to share the location for a limited time and share a link to for others to follow you via website rather than the app.

TechCrunch reports that the company has recently raised an €10 million in Series A which is quite a lot for a small French start-up. This only proves that the real value of the company is in smart location technology rather than the app for teenagers. I’m quite convinced that we will soon hear about a spectacular acquisition of that company. For me Zenly proves that there still a lot things to be improved when it comes to location-based technologies, and you don’t need to be a giant to bring innovation in that space. Cool!

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Zipline launched drone blood delivery in the US

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California-based Zipline is a start-up that recently started to deliver blood and medical supplies in Rwanda. Now the company is expanding to the US. Zipline plans to test their service in remote and rural communities like Maryland’s Smith Island, Native American reservations in Nevada, and the San Juan islands in Washington.

The 22-pound (10 kg) Zipline’s delivery drones can carry up to 3 pounds (1.3 kg) of blood or medicine, and has a range of up to 75 miles on a single charge. The idea is that when you make a blood delivery fast enough (within 30 minutes) you don’t need a heavy and power-consuming refrigerators.

Ordering Zipline is supposed to be as easy as hailing a Uber. When needed, health center employee has to call or send a text message to Zipline and a drone will airdrop the needed supplies within 30 minutes. System will send an alert two minutes prior the delivery and the package, equipped with a parachute, will land on the ground in a preselected landing spot. For its US launch, the startup has partnered with three healthcare companies — Ellumen, ASD Healthcare, and Bloodworks Northwest to provide supplies.

Drones are a keyword for 2016. They are everywhere. But when the technology starts saving lives, it stops to be a tech trend it starts to be a real and very needed revolution.

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