European mobile operators are doing their bit to mitigate the effects of natural disasters or emergencies by making it easier to alert people of possible danger and find them if they are in trouble.
In something of a ‘big brother’ solution, European governments are asking mobile operators to deploy the infrastructure and technical solutions able to broadcast simple mobile messages to all their subscribers thereby improving emergency responses and public warning systems.
In conversation with Mobile Europe, Intersec CEO Yann Chevalier said: “European governments are increasingly mandating public alerting systems and paying mobile operators to support them. People need and want reassurance and to understand what is happening around them – it’s natural to receive mobile messages.
“Among the major challenges is not only determining which channel to use – SMS is familiar but could be slower in reaching the entire subscriber population than less well known mobile broadcast channels – but transmitting volumes of messages to large numbers of people.”
Governments want sustainable, interoperable systems that reach everyone, according to the CEO.
“France, Germany and Holland are running such systems already. The big question is who pays for it – mobile operators will only run alerting systems if governments mandate and pay for them,” he added.
Working with Brussels based NGO the European Emergency Number Association (EENA), Intersec is developing the necessary and efficient alerting systems.
It has combined real time location intelligence systems with geo-location capabilities thereby allowing governments and emergency services to collect network location data from the entire subscriber base.
As a result they can identify where people are going and learn something of how and where they are moving. Advanced geo-fencing capabilities identify and track people in real time as they move through or enter a danger zone.
EENA executive director Gary Machado said: “With the development of new technologies, mobile alerting solutions are one of the logical next steps in communicating effectively with a large number of people expeditiously.”
Using mobile broadcast technology or ubiquitous SMS, appropriate messages can be sent to large numbers of people in seconds regardless of the network to which they are connected.