Former Marines Develop App to turn Emails into Letters
By Debbie Gregory.
Did you know that U.S. Marine recruits aren’t able to make calls or send emails from boot camp? Now there is an app to address that problem.
SANDBOXX is a mobile app that connects the military community with their friends and loved ones by giving them the ability to send physical mail to those in basic training, boot camp or on deployment directly from their cell phones.
The SANDBOXX app allows loved ones to type a note on their smartphone and have it turned into a printed letter, which is then sent the old-fashioned way: snail mail. Recruits can then write a letter in return and have it converted back to email.
Former Marine Ray Smith was supposed to be retired, but instead he has teamed up with fellow former Marine Sam Meek after discussing their mutual interest for connecting the extended military community.
They founded SANDBOXX in 2013 and launched the letters app the following year to assist servicemembers and their spouses, parents, friends, siblings – anyone with a connection to the armed services.
The culture shock of suddenly losing contact to the online world can take a toll on morale and interfere with training, especially for the generations of men and women who have come of age with smartphone in hand.
Since the app was launched, SANDBOXX has passed some 900,000 letters through its platform, with about 70 percent of the company’s current letter volume coming from the Marine Corps.
But as word of the app spreads, more people are using it to contact deployed Army soldiers and Air Force personnel, with the app available to new Coast Guard members starting in January.
The ultimate goal of the company’s founders is to build a social media platform unique to the military community. They have already created a social media app called “units” based around the military’s organizational structure. Any current or former member of the U.S. military can log in, put in their unit and year, and be connected solely with people from that unit and year.
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