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Communication Lines in an Emergency | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Communication Lines in an Emergency


March 11, 2011
People line up to use public telephones at the Shibuya station in Tokyo following the earthquake.
Yomiuri / Reuters

Waking up to the unbelievable images from Japan Thursday morning, I was at a loss as how to relate. The images streaming both from the internet and on tv were of things I’ve never seen before. Objects hundreds if not thousands of pounds were being tossed around in water over towns where water shouldn’t have been. As I was going through images online, the photo above taken in Tokyo struck me for a different reason. People were lining up for public telephones because mobile devices weren’t working (my assumption). What made me think was that line could easily have been in NYC as somewhere else. I wondered when technology that we take for granted fails, what will emerge to keep us connected? If an emergency happened and cell phone towers were down, where would my family go to check for updates? My guess, as scary as it would seem is Facebook. That idea doesn’t make me happy but if they’re not following my tweets or any of my blogs that would be an obvious place to look first. Of course if I could actually get online I could try calling them via Skype, but who knows what kind of bandwidth would be available. Hopefully I’ll never have to worry about it, but it does give me pause.

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  • http://twitter.com/riChchestMat Chris Matchett

    I have friends over there that had no power nor phones but could communicate via Facebook on the iPhone.

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    I would not want to be there now (

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    As you look at all this becomes terribly.
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