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Smartphones: The Next-Generation Emergency Alert System.

Disseminating Relevant Information

According to a recent Pew Research public opinion poll, 26 percent of Americans receive their news and information from cell phones. Additionally the poll found that 43 percent of those under 50 receive news on their mobile phones. These two findings demonstrate an important factor when considering how best to modernize emergency alert notification systems as it has serious implications for enhancing the distribution of timely information. In particular, mobile phone technology adoption rates and the use of these ubiquitous devices as a main informational portal for civilians is a key component to re-engineering future alert systems.

Keeping this in mind, it’s vital to recognize the importance of cell phones and smartphones as a critical link to broadcasting emergency alerts to citizens. In December 2008, 32 percent of consumers used a smartphone. Compare that number with December 2009 when it increased to 42 percent of consumers. The figures are significant as the adoption rate of smartphones is projected by the Nielsen Company, a marketing and media information company, to reach 50 percent and begin to overtake feature phone adoption by the third quarter of 2011.

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