The rumor mill is in full swing: a new iPhone will either be announced, launched, or both on September 12th. Our understanding at AWARE is that the next iPhone/iOS will be CMAS capable. We will have to wait until the model is launched to confirm, but all indications are that this will translate into a significant new population with CMAS-capable phones.
Aside from CMAS capability, here is my wish list of alerts and warnings-related features for next iPhone – assuming any relevant policy or regulatory issues could be painlessly overcome.
- Common User Experience. CMSAAC defined three alert categories for CMAS: Presidential, Imminent Threat, and Amber. However implementation, particularly in the Android ecosystem, has gravitated to four categories: Presidential, Extreme, Severe, and Amber. While this shift from three to four categories needs to be addressed, I hope the next iPhone will choose either structure and not invent one of their own.
- Link to GPS. An easy way to reduce CMAS message “bleed over” is for the phone to check its location via GPS relative to the FIPS code identified in the CMAS message. If the phone isn’t within the FIPS code, as determined by GPS, then the alert would not appear on the phone. While this would not eliminate the need for more granular geo-targeting, it would help reduce the impact of a message being propagated outside the intended region.
- CAP ID Ecosystem/Tagging. CMAS messages contain a unique ID (found in the CAP message). It would be helpful to build in functionality into iOS so that photos, text, and other content could be automatically tagged with that ID when they are posted to public-facing social networks. This would allow emergency managers to rapidly gather pictures, videos, and other data related to specific incidents.
- Language Preference. The ability to set a language preference and have alerts display only in that language would be a major leap forward to alerting those whose first language is not English. The Google Translate app for Android phones provides a good starting point for this technology.
- Message Acknowledgement. Emergency managers have clearly voiced a need to know who received a CMAS message and who didn’t. While a solution to this requires navigating a myriad of technical, privacy, and operational concerns, the ability to acknowledge message receipt would represent a major new capability in emergency management.
What new capabilities are you hoping for in the next iPhone? Comment here or tweet to us at @AWAREforum.