Daily Archives: June 22, 2011

IMOK and the Christchurch Earthquakes

June 22, 2011

I’m going to talk about SHORT messages on NZ’s shortest day, today.

Near on three years ago, I spoke about what I thought was a great idea, in the ICE (In Case of Emergency) concept/idea.


That was then followed up with this article here about visiting the New Zealand Address Register and the need to confirm your actual address as true and correct. This was mainly to aid emergency services in arriving at the correct destination.

Today too, I think I need to write down what I’m thinking about again.

Like many Kiwis I have family in Christchurch.

Once Twitter advises or my smartphones Earthquake Alerter goes off, my thoughts turn instantly to family in Christchurch.

Now if you’re like me, then what happened last week on Tuesday afternoon, is just what happened to you. The phone lines, landline and mobile were in a state of gridlock….and while you were waiting to get word that all was ok, you were left wondering at…..?

Today I have asked both my daughters to send a short text msg consisting of just 4 letters.

Those letters are…. IMOK in the event of any other significant localised events. (aiding this, on most screenbased smartphones qwerty keyboards you’ll note that these four letters have conviently been grouped close together too)

As its a text, then that’s exactly what the phone companies are suggesting is the best way to communicate at these times.

In those immediate moments after an event, a text probably has the best chance of getting through, besides its a very quick thing to do.

Luckily for us, the smartphone software writers have seen the benefits in such an app, and yes it turns out there is a specific one out there. The really good news in the case of an app is that you can predefine 3 or 4 contacts to let know instantly without you having to send 3 or 4 separate text messages (after all, I have, but it would seem not many I know have set up groups on their mobile phones)

The only one I can find is an iPhone one, but it looks like one for Android is coming.

Come on NZ Mobile telephone companies, its quite obvious that you will one of the first ones to experience difficulties when something like this happens.

Surely Telecom, Vodafone or 2degrees should be encouraging iPhone and Android developers to get behind / write such location aware apps.