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GSM SMS Service as a Supplementary Emergency Warning System (SEWS)

This is a concept note of a theoretical Short Messaging Service (SMS) based system that can emulate the Public Emergency Broadcast commonly used in broadcast media.

Introduction

Public Emergency Broadcasts are used to reach out to the public to inform them of a certain vital emergent issue e.g. Hurricanes, Typhoons, flooding and epidemics.

SMS RecievedSEWS design is to supplement the current systems in place e.g. Emergency Radio & TV broadcasts, leaflets, town hall meetings etc. It can be used as a reactionary measure after observations made through an Early Warning System require the need to inform the public of a potential and current serious health situation in an affected region. Once a serious health situation calls for the need to reach out to the public, SEWS could be used to pass on the necessary message with great ease and automation.

The SEWS project is proposed to target migratory persons and the local people. This is with the notion that it is more likely for an individual to access their mobile phones than their radio or TV.

People on the move may not be aware of the imminent situation in an area hence SEWS may adequately inform them hence may eventually reduce the spread of the epidemic to other regions.

A good case in point is the current Swine Flu situation. If every mobile phone user during the dawn of the epidemic received information through the proposed SEWS, the spreading rate of the pandemic may have reduced probably significantly since information is sent and received immediately rather than it being received through the usual media i.e. TV, Radio and Newspapers which could be time costly.

With the advent of mobile telephony and the market penetration having deeply entrenched across the world, the mobile phone handset together with the complementary services provided have seen it become more than a social asset but more of a necessity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 6, 2010 in Tech

 

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New Media + Journalism = National Development?

WindmillThe best way to begin this article is by sharing the story of the teenager from Malawi who dropped out of school but taught himself through the public library and at the age of 14 transformed his rural village by building electric windmills out of a junk bicycle and tractor fan. During a television interview in the USA he said during his first experience with the internet was after his fame and 5 years later after his invention. He “Googled” the word Windmills and he could not comprehend the amount of information presented before him through a small screen within seconds. It was at that moment he wondered

Where has it (Internet) been all this time?

The most obvious thought that comes into one’s mind is “What if he was aware and used the Internet before coming up with his creation?

According to Wikipedia, New Media is a term meant to encompass the emergence of digital,

A school in a Masai village using a MacBook. Apple.com

computerized, or networked information and communication technologies in the later part of the 20th century. Most technologies described as “New Media” are digital, often having characteristics of being manipulated, networkable, dense, compressible, interactive and impartial. Some examples may be the Internet (databases, websites such as blogs, social networking websites etc), Mobile telephony (SMS, MMS, etc). New Media is not television programs, feature films, magazines, books, or paper-based publications.

New Media with Technology Convergence shifts the model of mass communication, and this has radically shaped the ways we interact and communicate with one another in the modern society. How can it be used to reach out and be utilised in the conservative and underprivileged groups? According to Erik Hersman in his article, “THE DARK CONTINENT: ITS STILL DARK”, he states that

Those who create, develop and invest in new technologies are the ones who write the rules of tomorrow

Kenya and Africa as a whole is on the verge of a technical revolution, why shouldn’t the Mass Media be the one to guide this process? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2010 in New Media, Social Media

 

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