Today was the first National Emergency Announcement System test. We’re all familiar with the EAS system. It is what tells us about the imminent hurricane or tornado heading our way, or when there is a Northeaster. Today for the first time there was a national test. That means that if there is something that happens that effects us across all the nation from Hawaii to Key West we can get an announcement. I’m thinking the only time this will be relevant is an Armageddon type scenario.
But putting that aside it really brought up in my head an idea that we should probably push to develop.
EAS has a huge flaw. It requires being attached to a radio or TV. However, a growing critical mass of people are never on a major broadcast system and thus EAS will never get its very important message to a core unit of the population.
So I’d like to pose to the powers that be (if someone knows a power that be, please forward this to them):
- Can we have EAS send SMS (free of charge) to everyone with a mobile number?
- Can we figure out a way that major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can force messages through their proxy servers to get messages out across all platforms:
- Internet TV
- Google TV
- Apple TV
- Direct Internet TV
- SatTV app systems
- Native apps
- Game Consoles
- Sony Play Station
- Nintendo Wii
As we acknowledge the realities of contemporary content consumption, if we are truly serious about an emergency announcement system that reaches as many people as possible, don’t we have to figure this out. I know it is not easy, and it will (like EAS today) have to have federal mandates in order to make it happen, but isn’t the engineering & design challenge alone worth doing it, let alone the good it will have on society as a whole?
(ps. I’m really surprised I’m the first person I’ve heard/read ever mention this. It feels kinda obvious, no?)