Sunday, 14 August 2011

Foreign office teams up with Vodafone for trial text warning service

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is to launch a trial service in conjunction with Vodafone which will warn British citizens when there is a major crisis in their area. Customers of Vodafone and other users of the network will receive texts when there is civil unrest or a natural disaster.

The FCO does currently offer a similar service through its website but requires citizens to opt in and register for the service. The text message service will eliminate those who have not registered with The FCO, if they are associated with Vodafone.

The pilot scheme will run for one year and run alongside the FCO website, its Facebook page and twitter. Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne is keen to stress the importance of improving sources of contact with British nationals:

"The pilot is part of the Foreign Office's commitment to improve consular services. We will soon have the ability to send text messages to all affected British nationals registered on our crisis database. As well as this we're also exploring delivering important information through a range of mobile and online tools, including smartphone apps, a travel advice site for mobile phones and making effective use of social media and digital tools."