If you happened to see this item in the techNews arena, this is a great example of how tech companies can set vision to projects on the side that oversee the humanitarian aspects of what their technologies can do. Despite the numbers of people using cell phones for social networking applications such as Twitter and Facebook are still relegated to the way early adopters, the feasibility of developing the infrastructure - neh, keeping in mind the need for this "emergency infrastructure" as the business infrastructure continues to develop - is very apparent and necessary. It's a natural extension of how 911 services were developed in the late 60's by AT&T and standardized across the nation. (Note how this is not universal beyond the US and Canada. In Europe the emergency number is 112, but I digress.)
It will be interesting to see how an emergency services medium establishes itself in a mobile culture and what standards begin to get adopted. Currently we have some competing standards for mobile communication including IM, text, status messaging (like Twitter and Facebook), and of course voice. How will standards be implemented? And where will GPS device location technology fit into the framework particularly amid privacy concerns? Already, there are sort of a "voluntary" GPS location identifying services such as Dodgeball out there where you voluntarily identify your location in hopes of locating nearby friends or associates. It's sort of a weird upban Geocaching game...
Also fitting into the technology puzzle, is how reliant we will be on cell towers and/or other remote transmission relays in the event of an emergency? What id cell towers are put out by disasters and/or loss of power? My home disaster kit includes a pair of FRS/GMRS radios which do not require relays in order to communicate between the two. Can FRS/GMRS be tapped into somehow by cell phones in the event of an emergency (I know, I know these are completely different technologies but let's get thinking here...)
Blogged with Flock