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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Yesterday the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a press release on how it will alert the public with text messages in case of a national or more local emergency. The First Report and Order "will support the ability of the nation’s wireless carriers to transmit timely and accurate alerts, warnings and critical information to the cell phones and other mobile devices of consumers during disasters or other emergencies." The Order is in compliance with the WARN Act, which I have reported on previously (1, 2, 3), and looks to be one of the first statements issued to telecommunication providers that offers guidance on how the legislation should be implemented.

I spoke to Rob Kenney at the FCC to clarify how the alerts will be issued geographically. For now, a county is the smallest geographic level available but could be more localized depending on the carriers network operations and individuals who opt in to the service, according to Mr. Kenney. In terms of a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tornado, which may span multiple counties, the alerts will be sent to the affected regions. State officials, emergency management agencies or first responders will have a say in how the alerts are sent. Presidential Alerts will be issued nationally.

by Joe Francica on 04/10 at 11:25 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The latest dataset to appear on satnav? High car crime areas. Basically, it’s a warning about where NOT to park your car. The feature is currently available from Sanyo one of its Gorilla branded devices. Alas, so far data is only available for Osaka. Interestingly, there almost no car crime in Japan, but elsewhere…

- Tech Radar

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/10 at 07:56 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Reader Jay sent on a note about the article that illustrates how Gen. David Petraeus updated allegedly altered maps of violence in Baghdad shown last September in his presentations this week.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/10 at 06:49 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Clearflow, built on artificial intelligence concepts, is set to launch today, per the New York Times. The new modeling, available for 72 U.S. cities is said to better model flow during congestion events on both highways and side streets. The latter, reports the Times, are often assumed to be clear when the highway is packed. Routes suggested by the online service may be counter-intuitive and may suggest staying on a crowded highway.

The technology comes from Microsoft Research which had Microsoft employees voluntarily carry GPS devices to collect data. The system, which uses traffic sensors as base data, can predict congestion based on time of day, weather and other variables like sporting events.

With traffic sites and services a dime a dozen, the trick will be to differentiate this offering. One challenge, per Greg Sterling, it’s complicated: “This is a sophisticated layer of technology that will not be easily understood by the average person.” Sure, that’s true. Microsoft need only convince drivers that it got them to their destination faster that would otherwise be possible, not explain how it works. Alas, knowing how long it would have taken going “the other way” is not easy to calculate.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/10 at 06:32 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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