The Meteorological Department of India (IMD) is in the process of setting up a transmission centre that will send important weather alerts via telephone, radio, television and more. The system will most probably start functioning from May, later this year.
A few salient features of this system are:
- A specially designed cyclone-warning dissemination system that will send the weather updates via the INSAT (Satellite).
- Provision of area specific services even during failure of conventional communication channels.
- Over 350 receivers have been setup in vulnerable coastal areas in the east and west coast of India
The alerts will generally be sent from the Colaba Office of the IMD which will enable closer interaction and better connectivity with the people.
Now we all know how weather plays havoc in mumbai especially during the rainy season. The picture below does emphasize the importance of relevant weather updates delivered realtime.
All this sounds so good. But lets get down to the ground reality. We all know how prompt SMS services in India are when a genuine user-end benefit is in question (Read P.S. below). Telemarketing messages have become so irritating for people, that they have made it a point not to read a text when it arrives on their mobile phone. (Some even go one step further and disable the message tone) and thanks to the cheap call rates that have made text messages a thing of the past!
So what should the IMD do in order to make this Weather Alerts via SMS service reach out people in a better way? Well there are a lot of possibilities. Place update Screens atop Traffic signals, Use Twitter and Facebook Applications, Send On screen live phone updates (which are currently occupied by telemarketing stuff, again!) and more. Well if you have an idea too, do let us know about it in the comments.
P.S. I had a Delhi-Chennai flight via the Bangalore airport. This airport has free wifi services which is accessible only via a code which you have to retrieve using an SMS. This sounds so nice. The bad part was, I sent the SMS, waited for more than 3 hours at the airport, boarded the flight and reached Chennai, still no SMS that would give me the code!