November 15, 2017

Wired quotes Jamie Barnett on wireless emergency alerts

1 min

Jamie Barnett was quoted in Wired on November 15, 2017, in an article on the need for more targeted wireless emergency alerts. Wireless carriers have the ability to send emergency alerts, however, alerts are targeted to entire counties meaning individuals receive alerts irrelevant to them or emergency managers decide skip alerts altogether. As seen recently, this decision can be catastrophic. In order to improve the delivery of emergency alerts, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided to move forward with an order that would require wireless carriers to pinpoint emergency alerts down to the cellular tower level. This would allow emergency alerts to be sent to individuals within a specific geographical location.

According to Barnett, the FCC saw the potential for smartphones to improve emergency alerts as early as 2009. "Even back then we knew that geotargeting could be done much better," said Barnett. And yet, he notes, the wireless industry proved to be "reluctant partners."