Bernard Baker has a day job, but you wouldn’t believe it with the number of projects he juggles on a daily basis. By day he works for an e-commerce marketplace and in his spare time, he employs his programming skills to solve a variety of issues in our communities. Lately, he’s been focused on how to help people stay safe and connected during COVID-19.
Solutions to stay connected
Because of COVID-19, Baker found himself frequently calling his loved ones to check-in. In particular, he’s been talking to his parents who are high-risk. He got to thinking about people in crisis in developing countries who don’t have smartphones or internet. How do they stay connected to the ones they love when they can’t see them?
During Twilio’s DEV hackathon, Baker decided to tackle this problem head-on. He built Let’s Connect, an app that allows you to “connect with other people by the lowest common denominator, which is a telephone number.”
Users can reach out and schedule calls with Google Calendar’s API and have phone calls with Twilio as the conference placeholder. In 2-3 easy steps, you can chat with your loved ones to check in on how they’re doing and see if they need anything.
“It allows people in crisis to reach out to other people that they would otherwise not readily be able to communicate with,” explained Baker.
For example, if someone had a family member or friend that did have internet, that person could start the call on his smartphone and others could join in via their non-internet enabled phones for free.
The other neat aspect of Let’s Connect is that it isn’t tied to one language. While you can translate the website using a standard browser, Baker designed it to be universal. Using symbols like a telephone and calendar to show that a call has been scheduled helps non-native English speakers navigate the page.
Let’s Connect isn’t the only app Baker has built. It isn’t even the only COVID-related app he’s built! In addition to Let’s Connect, Baker recently won a global hackathon for an app he’s helping create called Stop the Virus. In charge of crafting the interface and programming the business logic, Baker is building the app using Twilio, Nelify for the platform as a service, and React on the front end.
In a video preview, the game is described as, “An algorithm where players score points for posting the most creative and safe social distancing videos.”
“Challenges like making the best homemade mask can help reduce droplet-based virus transmission significantly.”
Stop the Virus isn’t quite ready for the public eye, but you can check out a preview of the game here.
The source of inspiration
When asked what inspires Baker to build, he answered, “Happiness. I’m happy when I’m coding and I like contributing to the community. It’s really easy to genuinely help somebody.”
Baker would like to be a “global-hero-samaritan” to his community, and giving back through programming is the best of both worlds—doing something he loves while genuinely helping someone.
As a newly appointed Twilio Champion, Baker is excited to dig into Twilio’s offerings and explore what else he can build. His passion, resourcefulness, and time-juggling skills are a recipe for success, and we can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
Curious about what it means to be a Twilio Champion? Learn more about the program and apply to become a Champion today.