The Challenge


How might we gather information from hard-to-access areas to prevent mass violence against civilians? read the brief


Location based mobile service: Receive a message based on your location

Location based mobile services, one of the latest trends in marketing, allows retailers to inform you about offers once you enter a certain area (nearby the shop). This not only works with GPS, but also with triangulation that locates older devices
Location based mobile services are considered as one of the latest trends in (mobile) marketing. The concept is quite easy. Potential customers receive - in the simpliest form - a SMS informing about a special offer or deal once they enter a certain area, a so called geofence. A geofence is a predifined area that serves as area of communication: eg. person entering area, person leaving area, etc.

There are different ways to locate the customers cell phone: GPS the most sophisticated together with WIFI. Cell-tower triangulation, however, offers a very basic localisation for older mobile phones (no smart phones needed).

In the context of this challenge, civilians could be informed based upon their geo-data on things like: danger-zones, latest attacks or violations, general news, information on how and where to get (medical) aid, etc.

How could this messaging technology be levereaged for non-profit/social challenges?
Any ideas how the (business) model could be built upon non-profit considerations as normally retailers pay for the ads?

Might that improve the power of important locations (wells, markets, schools)?

Some useful links and existing (for-profit) services:
- Compact Info on how location based ads work
- Info that no smartphone needed for such a service
Geoloqi, one of the players in the business
- Locationlabs, another player with family safety as product (that scares me a bit)

Mission #2 Tools of Awareness


Join the conversation and post a comment.

Paul Darragh

March 22, 2013, 23:15PM
Hi Stephan,

Considering atrocities can and do occur in many different areas (cities, countryside, desert, forest) I think this has application where we see cell towers.

My question is how would the cell towers or transmitting base station be protected from the ‘bad guys’? Is there a different / alternative technology that can be used? Many times during a crisis TV stations and mass communications devices are controlled by the ‘bad guys’.

Stephan Kardos

March 23, 2013, 12:04PM
Hi Paul, thanks for your thoughts on that. As Christophe pointed out below there are certainly some risks to consider that come with using technology (be it phones, internet or other mass media). I think we should certainly also reflect on that aspects in the upcoming stages. I hope this and other "tech" inspirations build some ground for further ideas and discussions.

Paul Darragh

March 23, 2013, 19:54PM
Hi Stephan,

Richard Brion's Inspiration "Wireless Internet on the Fly & Other Mobile Communications Technology" may have a solution to the cell tower / infrastructure compromise. Simply fly a UAV equipped with surveillance and communications equipment over the affected area creating a mobile “hot spot”. I am sure there are technical and legal issues that would need to be sorted out.

Stephan Kardos

March 23, 2013, 21:13PM
Hey Paul, Thx for your further Input, I Would more than welcome if we Build upon this in the next Stage with others who are Interested or have inspirations to combine with

Stephan Kardos

March 11, 2013, 12:37PM
Hi Christophe,

Thanks for your comment. In that case I think that is the cool thing about it: the risk of identifcation - I assume - is quite low. You would get a SMS on your phone on anything relevant: attacks, food, aid, ... in a certain zone. You would be just another guy with a (low tech) mobile (sound swichted off, no vibrating). Though I do not now how common mobiles are in certain areas and therefore how likely you stand out of the mass.

Even more effective I think is to set geofences *infront* of danger zones like: "Don't go any further, there was an attack / act of violation / etc. on the ...".

I also see some connections to other inspirations that work with short message: e.g. that one that should prevent people from violent action. In that case you would implement a geofence around schools, villages, neighborhoods, etc. peoplel receiving a SMS with text to think over their actions. Or the speak to tweat inspiration: in that case you would actively send (a free SMS) to report violation or mark a danger zone. Simply "Danger, here" could update the coordinates of the geofence (if administered in the background).

There is a lot of space for taking this further so thank you for further comments on that.

Christophe Billen

March 11, 2013, 13:33PM
Hi Stephan. Sounds intersting and definitively worth checking. As I wrote here the environment is often very vollatile and perpetrators quickly adapt. It's like a chess game. You need to think many moves in advance to ensure that you will remain safe in the long run. You may also wish to read these: AND

Christophe Billen

March 11, 2013, 12:07PM
Interesting technology. As with all other communication channels, we need to check how to mitigate risks of identification in particular of those in danger zones
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