Tag Archives: smartphones

SOS: Emergency Response in the Smartphone Era

By now, we’ve all seen or heard stories about a recent scare in Hawai’i where residents were bombarded (ironically) with an emergency notification warning of a ballistic missile heading towards the isolated island state. Within seconds, the people of Hawai’i panicked, contacting their families, friends, loved ones, and stopping everything that they were doing in their final minutes of their lives.

Of course, this warning turned out to be false.

The chaos that ensued in Hawai’i was the result of an accidental warning fired off by a government employee of the Emergency Management Agency. Not only did this employee send off a massive wave of crisis alert notifications to Hawaiians everywhere. In some cases, it took up to 30+ minutes to signal to people that this was a false flag warning. With the rising tensions between the United States and the trigger-happy North Korea, you could imagine that this could be problematic, to put it simply.

The recent mishap in Hawai’i opens up a conversation about Phone notifications when responding to crisis situations. While Hawaiians, and more broadly Americans, aren’t used to seeing this type of notification appear on their lock screen, this is a common and very effective tool in the middle east, where Israel uses push notifications to warn of nearby short range missiles coming in from Syria and the Gaza Strip/West Bank.

Image result for israel missile defense notification

In a region full hostilities and tense situations, with possible threats from all angles, Israel keeps its land and citizens safe using a very effective system of Red Alert, an element of Israel’s Iron Dome. According to Raytheon, a partner in developing this system, the Iron Dome “works to detect, assess and intercept incoming rockets, artillery and mortars. Raytheon teams with Rafael on the production of Iron Dome’s Tamir interceptor missiles, which strike down incoming threats launched from ranges of 4-70 km.” With this system comes the Red Alert, which notifies Israelis in highly populated areas of incoming attacks, in case the system couldn’t stop the missile in time. Since implementation in 2011 and with more people receiving warnings due to growing cell phone use, Israelis have been kept safe and are notified promptly, leading to a 90% success rate of the system and keeping civilian injuries/casualties at very low levels.

If this Hawaiian missile alert was true, this could have saved many lives. In an instant, everyone was notified and people took their own precautions to be aware of the situation at hand. This crucial muff in the alert system can be worked on in the future, leading to faster, more effective approaches to missile detection, protection, and warnings, saving lives in the process.

In an era of constant complaint about the ubiquity of cell phone use, some of the most positive implications of our connected world have been obscured. Think back to 1940: London bombing raids were almost surprises, with very late warnings and signals that resulted in the destruction of London and many casualties. With more advanced weapons, agencies are designing even more advanced defense notification systems, making sure to reach every possible victim as fast as possible. In an age where just about everyone has a cell phone, saving lives has never been easier.

 

For more reading, check out these articles on Washington Post and Raytheon:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/01/14/hawaii-missile-alert-how-one-employee-pushed-the-wrong-button-and-caused-a-wave-of-panic/?utm_term=.9898f44541cd

https://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/irondome/

Finally Making the Switch: Android to iPhone

By now, as you’re reading this, I have made a life altering decision.

A decision not about school, work, stupid purchases, etc., but for the single thing I use everyday when I stumble out of bed in the morning and crash into the same bed at night. That’s right; I switched my brand of cellphone. Yes, I caved into an Apple technology dominated landscape and now own an iPhone.

I should premise this by saying that I am not anti-Apple or anti-Android. Not only have I owned at least 4 other Android phones before I got myself an iPhone (ranging from Samsung to LG to HTC), I also have a PC, Macbook Pro, iPad… you get the picture. So its safe to say I have been a mixed-technology kind of guy my whole life, I just (used to) prefer my phones be Android, sort of like how people prefer their eggs scrambled, shirts tucked in, black cars, how ever you compare it.

On to the good stuff…

The iPhone 6S Plus (source: three.co.uk)

This sexy piece of technology now sits snug in the pocket of my jeans or the pouch in my jacket every day, and follows me wherever I travel to. Being an owner of this device for the past two months, having never personally owned an iPhone, this device has completely blown my expectations out of the water. On the outside, a sleek design is highlighted by its large display, curvaceous edges, brushed aluminum that’s cold to the touch, and yes, that seemingly annoying camera bump.

I count on this thing to do EVERYTHING for me. My whole day is logged in to it. From schedules to work out plans to messages to health logging, this phone does it all for me. [Unpopular opinion trigger warning]: The iPhone is the better device. Over any Android phone, give me the S7, Note 7 (RIP), LG V20, G5, anything you name and I will surely be impressed with the function of my iPhone over them all.

Apple has done something right. For the past ten years, Apple has shown why they are the top dog in the smartphone department. People keep coming back to buy their newer iPhones and continue to be impressed. And this isn’t an opinion guys; this is fact.

U.S. Smartphone brand marketshare for 2015 (source: statisa)

U.S. Smartphone brand market share for 2015 (source: statisa)

According to statisa, the iPhone dominates the current smartphone market littered with many different brands, devices, and companies. Why has Apple, a company with one line of smartphone that comes out continue to have this much of a share over companies cranking out multiple smartphone lines every year? The answer is simple: Apple has perfected the smartphone.

The design, the operating system, the hardware inside, the features of the phone, you name it. All of these aspects continue to make the iPhone great (making iPhones great again). Yes, some Android devices may have stronger components, bigger storages, better cameras etc., but its the perfect blend of all the pieces together that makes the iPhone tower over the weaker competition. All of this, and I leave out the most important thing: functionality.

Functionality in an iPhone is much better than any Android phone I’ve ever used and owned. The iPhone is simply a smoother operating experience in its transitions, animations, multitasking, battery life. Its like upgrading to a brand new Audi, what a smooth ride, every time you hop in the driver’s seat and take it for a spin. After weeks of ownership, you can start to see a weakening in operation and delays in use on an Android phone. A couple months in, my iPhone shows now signs of slowing down.

Let’s face it folks, the iPhone is the best device you could buy. Sure, I’ll miss my expandable storage of my G4 (which is getting phased out of Android phones too), but for the best experience of a phone your money can buy, I’ll take it.