France: What is this alert that will be displayed on your smartphones?

News hardware France: What is this alert that will be displayed on your smartphones?

Since June 4, France has finally had a mobile phone alert system. This one, called FR-Alert, works without application or SMS, and its use is restricted to specific cases.

In Asia, North America or even in certain European countries, owners of a smartphone can occasionally receive alerts on their terminal, in various contexts : natural disaster, industrial accident, military danger… These are generally very dangerous situations which require alerting the maximum number of people in the minimum time, through the cell diffusion.

Until now, France was deprived of such an alert system. But the situation has just changed:
formalized discreetly at the end of April,
‘FR-Alert has been active in the territory since June 4
and will be operational throughout France at the end of the month.

Cell Broadcast, or cellular broadcasting, is a method which consists in sending a message via a mobile telephone network extended to the whole of a territory. The message in question is displayed on the screen of the smartphone: it is not received through an app and it does not involve SMS type messaging. This allows anyone subscribed to a mobile network to receive the alert.

Cell broadcast can support messages up to 1395 characters, and the sending of messages can be restricted to a specific area of ​​the territory : the geolocation of users is then used. For example, in the event of a nuclear accident in a power plant, people within a defined perimeter will receive an alert via the network, notifying them of the accident, but also the instructions to follow to take shelter.

Ongoing updates from operators

Using cell broadcasting requires setting up the system in the country : France has therefore just acquired one. Currently, mobile operators active in the territory are pushing updates to their respective networks to allow their customers’ terminals to receive alerts that may be issued in the future.

Users have nothing to do. There is no need to install any app or install any iOS or Android update. However, it is possible that you will receive a message on your smartphone in the next few days telling you that an update to your operator’s settings is available. There is no risk: you can activate it.

France: What is this alert that will be displayed on your smartphones?

Tests carried out in France

It’s been several weeks since FR-Alert tests are carried out in certain regions of France. On June 22, residents of the Archères region, in Yvelines, will receive an alert message on their smartphone. At the same time, alarms will sound in the area. The objective is to verify the proper functioning of the alert system in a strategic region of Île-de-France, where there is a huge wastewater treatment site.

Example of an alert message sent to North America. (Source: Twitter)

France: What is this alert that will be displayed on your smartphones?

From this summer, FR-Alert can be used to warn local populations of the occurrence of dangerous situations.. We obviously hope that it will be used as little as possible, but this novelty is however welcome and all the same reassuring: it should allow better official communication by the competent authoritiesand quickly disseminate essential information when needed.

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France: What is this alert that will be displayed on your smartphones?

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