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TSUNAMI ALARM BRINGS TRAVELLERS PEACE OF MIND
A group of international technology companies and academics have launched a global tsunami alarm service for travelers to coastal regions of the world. The Tsunami Alarm System uses a sophisticated network of computers to monitor seismic and tsunami stations around the world. Once a verified tsunami alarm is generated, it is delivered by SMS anywhere in the world where there is GSM mobile coverage.
“Tsunamis can happen at anytime, anywhere in the coastal regions of the world,” says Prof. Dr. Eduard Heindl, CEO Heindl Internet AG, Tübingen, Germany. “Tsunami Alarm gives our subscribers peace of mind and the precious time they need to take action.”
“The system itself is very easy to use and reliable. After subscribing on the Web site, all the subscriber needs to do is ensure his mobile is switched on and able to receive messages. Messages when sent are “pushed” directly on to the front screen of the phone”, says Eduard Heindl.
“We believe this extra insurance with the extra peace of mind it provides can help win back visitors to the Islands and resorts around the Indian Ocean”, says Prof. Dr. Wolfram Reiners, Director 3MFuture Ltd. Charlestown, Nevis and Konstanz Germany. “Travel companies can also participate in Tsunami Alarm by becoming channel partners or resellers of the service. Tour guides should also be able to make use of the service to ensure the safety of their travel groups.”
While the December 2004 tsunami disaster raised awareness of the phenomenon, it is still little known that tsunamis are a relatively frequent event. Tsunamis are caused by geological activity, usually earthquakes at sea or volcanic activity.
The most geologically active region is the Pacific Ring of Fire. As a result, Japan is the country most at risk and is hit by a tsunami at least once a year. Both Japan and Hawaii have extensive tsunami warning systems but many other countries in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions do not have public warning systems.
But tsunamis can occur virtually anywhere in the world including the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. In 1908, for example, the city of Messina in Italy was virtually destroyed and 75 000 people killed by an earthquake and the subsequent tsunami.
“Unlike hurricanes and weather phenomena”, says William Ramwell, responsible for Marketing and Public Relations, PhiBlue Mobile Ltd., Bryanston, South Africa, “there can be no advance warning of earthquakes. With tsunamis, the warning window period can be as little as ten minutes to a few hours. With so little time available, the problem facing governments and agencies is how to quickly warn the people who are most likely to be affected.”
“The answer lies in using the most commonly used hand-held computer in the world – the GSM mobile phone”, he says.
The system is the brainchild of two academics – Professor Dr. Eduard Heindl and Professor Dr. Wolfram Reiners of the University of Applied Sciences in Furtwangen in Germany. The technology behind the Tsunami Alarm has been filed for patent protection from the German Patent Office and is being patented in other parts of the world.
Private and public sector partners behind Tsunami Alarm are Heindl Internet, technology company 3MFuture, and the GeoSciences Centre, in Potsdam, Germany. A key link in the service is South African partner company, PhiBlue Mobile, which provides the messaging capabilities.
More information on Tsunami Alarm and how to subscribe can be found on www.tsunami-alarm-system.com. Information on the channel partner and reseller programme can also be found on this site.
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