Sprint to Provide Emergency Alerts Via Its Wireless Network
Sprint today announced that it will be the first wireless network operator in the U.S. to provide Wireless Emergency Alerts. The system allows Sprint to disseminate alerts issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, The National Weather Service, the White House, and local/state governments regarding disasters, warnings, or other crises. Warnings and safety information are sent via text alerts to properly equipped mobile phones, taking into account the device's location with respect to any affected areas. Sprint will be performing a major test of the system in New York City's five boroughs later this year. The test will deliver a series of different geo-targeted wireless alerts to multiple Sprint devices spread across Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The alerts can be received by a wide number of Sprint's smartphones. The messages, which will be limited to 90 characters and have their own vibrate and ring alerts, are free to receive. The alerts will be sent in three categories: Presidential Alerts, Imminent Threats to Life and Property, and AMBER Alerts. They will and provide information that will let users know if they are in imminent danger. Wireless users can opt out of all message types with the exception of presidential alerts. Sprint will be working with various national and local agencies to make the system available across the country over the course of the next year.
Facebook to Display Amber Alerts
Facebook today said it has partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and will begin to push Amber alerts to users' Facebook news feeds. Facebook said it was inspired to create the service after an Amber alert posted to Facebook by a user resulted in the recovery of an abducted child.
Google Maps and Google Search Debut SOS Function
Google today announced its Google Maps and Google Search apps will soon show critical information regarding natural and other disasters that may strike. The SOS Alerts, as they are called, will appear at the top of search results and within maps as people look for information concerning the disasters or impacted areas.
NYC Adopts App-Based Parking Payments
New York City this week made it possible to pay for parking via smartphone. ParkNYC is an app that motorists can use to register their car with the NYC parking system and make payments for parking spots in midtown Manhattan.
FCC Proposes Updates to Emergency Alerts
The FCC wants to see wireless emergency alerts used more effectively and proposed several changes to improve them. Wireless emergency alerts have been used since 2012 to warn people about severe weather or other safety threats, alert them to missing children, and deliver other information via text messages.
Typo: The National Whether Service
Sprint? First? HUH?