Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Will technology stand up in a hurricane?

Next time a hurricane hits, families will turn to their smartphones to stay in touch, track the storm and find the shortest gasoline lines.

To handle the load, wireless carriers are turning to time-tested disaster plans -- but on an exponential scale. The gates will be released on a barnyard-dubbed herd of backup support: cells on wheels (COWS), cells on light trucks (COLTS) and generators on trailers (GOaTS).

But will it be enough to handle some 600,000 South Florida households without land phones lines, plus the seemingly endless hunger to Tweet, Facebook and upload videos of broken trees, gasoline lines and blocked roadways? No one will know for sure until a storm hits. But the violent storms that tore through the country earlier this year provided a look at the demands of a data-dependent age, and the challenges required to meet them.

Of course, cell phones won't work after a storm - - and, for some reason, everyone will act all surprised.

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