The news that Apple were going to add scope for earthquake alerts in Japan caused a lot of interest a couple of years ago. Now it is the UK which is going to get a new system of mobile phone alert messaging, with a test period about to get under way and running through to November of this year.
A similar alert facility is available in Australia, the US and the Netherlands, while the British system will be tested in the centre of Glasgow, Leiston in Suffolk and Easingwold in North Yorkshire. There will be around 50,000 people who will get messages marked as tests and the idea of the project is to see how members of the public react to them. The recipients of the messages will be requested to give feedback and there are also plans to set up local focus group meetings as well. By the start of next year a report on the future viability of the project should be available.
Only for Genuine Emergencies
Confirmation of the trial period came from the Cabinet Office, who said that they would be running the scheme along with Vodafone, O2 and EE. Chloe Smith is the Cabinet Office minister who broke the new news and confirmed that the emergency alerts would only ever be sent out in the case of a “genuine emergency”.
The trial will actually cover a couple of different methods of sending out the alerts; SMS text messages and cell broadcast technology.