IDF to alert citizens of missile launches using text messages

It’s been discussed for some time, but it appears that the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) is finally ready to roll it out. It’s a system designed to warn citizens of missile firings, sending the alerts via SMS-CB (which is a one-to-many broadcast SMS service

The service is to be developed by Israeli high-tech company eViglio, in cooperation with Ericsson. It is expected to be activated in June 2011. The service will cost some NIS 27 million or $7.45 million.

SMS-CB is differs from standard SMS. It’s described as follows:

Cell Broadcast is a technology that allows a text or binary message to be defined and distributed to all mobile terminals connected to a set of cells. Whereas SMS messages are sent point-to-point, Cell Broadcast messages are sent point-to-area. This means that one Cell Broadcast message can reach a huge number of terminals at once. In other words, Cell Broadcast messages are directed to radio cells, rather than to a specific terminal. A Cell Broadcast message is an unconfirmed push service, meaning that the originator of the message does not know who has received the message, allowing for services based on anonymity. Mobile telephone user manuals describe how the user can switch the receiving of Cell Broadcast messages on or off.

Cell Broadcast messaging has a number of features that make it particularly appropriate for emergency purposes:

* It is not as affected by traffic load; therefore, it may be usable during a disaster when load spikes tend to crash networks, as the 7 July 2005 London bombings showed. Another example was during the Tsunami catastrophe in Asia. Dialog GSM, an operator in Sri Lanka was able to provide ongoing emergency information to its subscribers, to warn of incoming waves, to give news updates, to direct people to supply and distribution centres, and even to arrange donation collections using Celltick’s Cell Broadcast Center, based on Cell Broadcast Technology.

Mobile phone adoption has become so pervasive that mobile emergency alerts have been used for a variety of different uses. Alerts of this nature include disasters as tsunami warnings, severe weather alerts, and the like.


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