When we began development of our Mobile Apps a few years ago, we had big plans for the apps to become a huge success and become hugely popular in Cork City and County.
Our vision was to create an app which served custom alerts, to users for their locations – which we achieved. However, we had to do so with a cost. Our mobile apps came with a premium subscription for those who wanted to filter notifications/alerts.
However, the time has come for us to say goodbye to our Mobile Apps as we announce their discontinuance.
We had to pay the developers back for the applications (some of this cost was crowdfunded, and for that we’re forever grateful – without the help on GoFundMe the app venture would have never been possible) and each subsequent update to the app (security fixes, bug fixes, database issues) all came with a cost. This coupled on top of the server costs, the costs kept growing and growing.
Shortly after development of the app, we stopped receiving updates from the developers – unfortunately the development company had grown, and no longer had the resources to help us – which we can appreciate, companies grow and get busy. This is a good thing for them! We were left pretty much in the dark though, and regular updates proved hard, so we then had to try and source alternative developers to continue updating the app, and for any important security fixes – which we did. However, as with any good app – updates will always be needed.
The premium subscription didn’t prove overly popular, and while we have a number of users who did upgrade to Premium – this was only a small percentage of the total app users. We wanted to maintain a freemium app, and initially wanted everyone to get push notifications (and then have the option to filter them out) but it was decided against this in consultation with the developers due to too many notifications being sent, so we chose a method of allowing users to only receive alerts they wanted.
Due to increased costs incurred with the mobile apps, and important updates that need to be performed (at a higher price than we originally expected) it’s simply not possible for us to provide the service of the Mobile Apps. For example, our Push Notification provider has recently announced some pretty big changes, which see a 100% increase in the cost of the service.
We also recently discovered that an important update to Google Cloud Functions is also taking place, early next year. This means that an update to our ‘Functions’ will be required. A Google Cloud Function is a function that the app performs, e.g. when submitting an alert to us, or when an alert is posted to our Facebook – a Cloud Function will take the update from Facebook, and edit it to be displayed in the app. It’s the brain behind the app, and what provides much of our automation. The update to Cloud Functions will require them to be updated, and rewritten to continue working.
It was on the basis of these two updates to the app, and the quotes we got from some developers to perform these updates being far too high for us to pay – we decided that we are going to discontinue the app.
When is this going to happen?
The mobile apps are being discontinued on Saturday, 23rd November 2019.
What happens if I have an active premium subscription, will I receive a refund?
All payments and refunds are handled by the relevant App Stores, so in our case the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store. You will need to reach out to iTunes Store Support, and Google Play Support to request a refund.
If you have made a purchase within 14 days, you have a legal right under EU law to request cancellation and for a refund to be issued. This is known as the EU Right of Withdrawal. You may quote this when requesting your refund from the App Stores to support your case in requesting a refund. Apple’s policy on Right of Withdrawal can be seen here, and Google Play can be seen here. The exception to this is: You cannot cancel your order for the supply of Content if the delivery has started upon your request and acknowledgement that you thereby lose your cancellation right.
The discontinuance of the Mobile Apps is in line with our Terms and Conditions which state that we may withdraw the app from the App Stores at any given time.
What will happen my data?
Complying with GDPR policies, all data will be hard deleted (completely erased) from our servers on or shortly before the date of discontinuance. Should you wish to delete your data/account before this date, you can do so by heading to the ‘My Profile’ tab within the mobile app and selecting the option to ‘Delete Account’ or ‘Unlink Google’ / ‘Unlink Facebook.’ This will hard delete your data immediately.
Where do we go from here? How do I get your alerts?
Cork Safety Alerts will continue to publish alerts, and be as active as ever on our Social Media accounts including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We suggest setting up alerts on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when we post. This way, you’ll receive a push notification each time an alert is issued by us.
We also have the ability to subscribe to our website posts, using the bell notification in the right hand side. Android users can use Chrome to receive notifications direct to their phones as well as desktop browser notifications.
We’ve also created a dedicated Submit Alert page on our website to make it even easier to send us updates/alerts.