CNN reports on a new Dutch initiative to warn & inform all cell phone users in a given radius about hazards, via text messaging:
The system, called Cell Broadcast, uses GSM technology to identify cell phone users in a particular area.
If a disaster occurs, a message is sent to all phones in the area, warning of the danger…
“This is a more instantaneous way of informing people about what is going on right now. It’s an extra medium to communicate directly with people during a disaster,” he said.
“If something happens in the center of The Hague, for example, we can select communication points from telecom companies and everyone who is within a few 100 meters can get the information.”
Other scenarios could include terrorist attacks, fires, explosions and leaks of toxic substances.
It’s a powerful thing to be able to broadcast to all nearby mobile phones. Potential for pranks or advertising abound. And we’re not sure we could trust a text message with giving lifesaving instructions, just yet. But Europeans have been a few years ahead of the US on SMS, so maybe we’ll come around.
Flashback: PDA’s get WISER