I am glad that we are now at the point of understanding that the characteristic of a mobile to be present – cellular service or not – during emergency situations can be the difference between life or death in all too many cases. Once those situations are over, and even sometimes in the midst of them, we can find ways that mobile and connected services can and should be used to help the efforts to address health and aid.
What has been noted though is that there are gaps in the knowledge of what has been and can be done. Yes, some of that is because in an emergency situation, there’s no time to document what it is that was done – its was done and lives were addressed. However, there are opportunities to learn from situations that we’d be remiss to not learn from and be better prepared for future emergencies. For example, there are many mobiles in Japan which aren’t just stylish, but also waterproof. The industry and government understood that for some of the people who use mobile services, it could very well be a possibility that the device/service would be the contact point. Making sure it worked after being submerged meant they worked that into devices that were easy to understand and use.
Over at 3G Doctor, there’s a list of things that can be done on or around mobile devices/services that will help to manage (future) emergency situations. In summary, these are the items:
- Educate every member of society about the use of mobile
- Provide Aid (i.e., donations)
- Identity (i.e., blood donors, live register, etc.)
- SMS (i.e., warnings, knowledge sharing, etc.)
- Location-Based Services (i.e., resource deployment and monitoring)
- Video Content
- Utilities (i.e., Backup/Alternate Power)
- Hardware (i.e., waterproof devices, biosensors)
Read the entire article at 3G Doctor to see how these are explored.
If you are involved or have been involved with organizing or addressing emergency situations (such as Japan, Haiti, etc.), where has the availability of mobile helped? And what could have been better done?
From those lessons comes where churches and other ministries can and should step up to fill the gaps.