Japan's Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry wants to implement a program of emergency messaging over cellular phone networks, particularly in the event of earthquakes. The SMS messages would provide emergency instructions, evacuation routes, and the like; if a plan to piggyback the emergency alert system on top of a broadcast video for phones technology works out, the emergency alerts could also include animations and graphics.
Interesting, sure, but not much of a surprise at this point. What is novel about the system is that the Ministry also wants to be able to turn phones on by broadcasting a special signal, so that citizens can get the emergency messages even if they've shut their phones off for the night. They're working on the necessary technology in hopes of including it in future phones.
Somehow, I don't expect that a feature like that would be appealing in many places, but it's a novel solution to a clear (if minor) problem.
Hmm. Just caught this (the site doesn't have things where they used to be, so I'm a bit lost when I visit still).... It's good that Japan is doing something along these lines.
Turning the phones on automatically is fine, I think - as long as the special signal is responsibly used. In the event of an emergency, it sure would suck to be moping around in the afterlife saying, 'I wish I had my phone on...'
Most people I know keep their phones on when they are charging, as they are sleeping. Seems sensible.