Emergency Alerts Could Impact IoT Devices

Designed for crises, the alerts were sent to all 4G and 5G devices in the U.K. this week, and some say they could disrupt connected devices’ operations

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

April 26, 2023

1 Min Read

The U.K. tested its emergency alert system this week, with an alarm sent to mobile devices across the country in the first-ever nationwide test, which some say could disrupt connected devices.

The test, however, was not entirely successful, with many reporting they received the alert late or not at all. In addition, some have voiced concerns that the alert could disrupt the operation of connected devices that are not capable of dismissing the alarm.

“We are concerned that the government alert system…has not taken into consideration the range of non-consumer connected IoT devices in the market,” said Paul Marshall, founder of IoT Connectivity company Eseye.  “From smart vending machines to EV charging systems to medical equipment - that may be running on Android today. Many devices may not be equipped to acknowledge and dismiss this notification, which could cause real-world problems.

“Eseye simulated the alert on customer devices and found that one medical device sounded the alert and entered into an alarm state that could not be canceled, potentially creating risk and causing distress for patients.”

While no such problems were reported from the recent alert’s testing, it does raise a point about the rising numbers of connected devices throughout industries, and how companies can protect them from disruptions. With legislation around these devices still developing, correct procedures and protection can be unclear.

“Given the lack of government guidance in this area, our advice to any companies running connected Android devices, in particular, is to ideally simulate and test this alert…and update firmware where necessary immediately,” said Marshall. 

Ministers said they are reviewing the outcome of the alert’s trial and will address any problems that arose. 

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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