2008: Israel is planning to issue
incoming missile warnings to civilians via cell phone. The reason for this is
the risk of future terrorist attacks using long range rockets. Israel has
radars that can spot incoming rockets, and calculate roughly where these
unguided projectiles will land. In the south, these radars automatically turn
on the air raid sirens and send people scurrying for shelter. But that only
works because there are a few settlements in the south within range of these
rockets fired by Palestinians in Gaza. Most of the population is further north.
To make the cell phone warning work, the current ten civil defense (or
"warning") regions, are being increased to 150. Naturally, one could
just have the radars turn on the air raid sirens in the region where the rocket
was going to land. But with 150 regions, the sirens in one region will be heard
in one or more adjacent ones. That's the main reason for going to cell phone
warnings. The main problem is modifying the cell phone network technology so
that enough people in the target region promptly get calls. It's possible, for
example, for some cell phones to have multiple ring tones. The government could
issue an "incoming missile" ring tone. Anyone hearing this would know
to head for cover. Others would receive a text message or call consisting of
the air raid siren.
Now all this
may not work, but it shows you the kind of imaginative solutions can be applied
to new threats.