Photographs, letters and care packages have always been important to are mementos service members look forward to when they're away from home on a deployment or in training. It memories they can take with them even when they're off the grid, disconnected from their family and friends. While social media has given warfighters all over the globe the ability to connect with loved ones, a A new mobile application brings those is bringing the physical comforts of home to military members, even when they are "off the grid," with just a tap on an iPhone.
The app, Sandboxx, has gives members two features: Through feature Mailboxx, military members can send or receive physical post mail directly from their mobile devices. Chatboxx allows them to post, chat or connect securely with members in their units, and with family members and friends through the securities of the app. FAMILIES OR FRIENDS? OVER SECURE NETWORKS? (IS THE SECURITY WHAT MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO USE WHILE OFF THE GRID?).
Users can download the app from Apple's App Store and sign up with their email, a password, mailing address, their service and rank. , and The app automatically tailors their profile to their service branch the military member serves in based on their his or her inputs.
"Each branch has its own unique needs as far as communication and the social structure of that branch, so we wanted to make it as simplistic ... as possible for members of each branch to connect," Sam Meek, founder and CEO of Sandboxx, told Military Times. "We've really focused on today's generation of warrior." "It's built for the way a 19 or 20 year-old uses applications today," Meek said.
Once a profile is created, members can select the units — at the wing level, squadron level or lower, for example — they serve in, and input a dates and time to differentiate between current and past members of the groups.
"Units are the social structure of the military," said Meek, who served five years in the Marine Corps, said. "Sandboxx is community driven, and we allow the user to define their unit, and we allow the population to authenticate that user."
Members can post photos, text or check posts — posts that allow the user to see who has seen their status or message — to their feed or share them with other Sandboxx users through a secure connection either in their unit groups or with family and friends.
Posts can even become hand-delivered mail.
Once the user hits send on a photo or letter through the Mailboxx feature, the Sandboxx team recreates the item to become hand-delivered mail to the address listed in the recipient's profile. Mailboxxes also includes a stamped and pre-addressed envelope to go back to the sender.
"Mail and mail call was then and still is today the most important single morale factor for isolated service members," said Sandboxx board member and founder, retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Ray Smith in the website's video.
"In the beginning of this, we were thinking about how many different things we can possibly serve up for our military that would help them throughout their lifestyles," Meek said. "At the end of the day, we are a lifestyle platform and our goal is to simplify that military lifestyle."
Meek said the Sandboxx team is also working on a feature that gives active, reserve or veteran members the ability to customize groups select a family member or kin to be in a group of their own. CHANGE OK? For example, members of a platoon can select their spouses to better connect through their own group chats for a better support structure.
Another item on the agenda: care packages.
"We are going to partner with a number of brands in order to allow a spouse or a mom or a friend to send a care package directly from the app" in the same capacity as Mailboxx, Meek said.
Sandboxx, which launched on Veterans Day, has more than over a few hundred downloads, but plans to will continue to expand with new features and an app for Android this spring.
The startup company, located in Greenwich, Connecticut, and in Washington, D.C., is also helping Marsh and McLennan Companies, a global risk management and insurance brokerage firm, in hiring wants is now partnering with Fortune 200 companies to hire 75 veterans this year and 500 veterans next year.
Meek said that while the company is not regulated by Defense Department social media policy, its their goal is to work with members in leadership roles and even with the newest recruits of stay tightly alignedwith THE POLICIES OF? all the military branches to best serve the military members using Sandboxx.
The name of the app also has pinpoints the significance of military life, Meek said.
"When you think about the sandbox you grew up playing in, where you first started having human interaction ... all these experiences kind of created the blueprint of your personality, of who you are," Meek said. "We learned a lot about ourselves in the sandbox" at a young age, he said.
But being at war, being thrown into an entirely different sandbox, also changes a person's character and identity.
"A lot of what we reference as training or deployment is being in the sandbox," Meek said. The double X on the app's name denotes both sandboxes, he said.
"For the military, I think it's easy to say that we've had these two sandboxes throughout our lives that have been immensely influential into the way we've been put together as people."
To learn more about the app, visit www.sandboxx.us/.