Farmers welcome Apple’s next-gen safety system

By Steve Mudd posted 15-05-2023 11:59


Farmers welcome Apple’s next-gen safety system

NSW Farmers says the rollout of emergency satellite connectivity on the latest iPhones will be a lifesaver for the bush.

The feature, which Apple says will allow users without mobile phone reception to send preset “SOS” messages to emergency services using direct satellite connections, would partly solve a major issue for rural and remote communities.

At present, large parts of NSW have limited or no mobile phone reception, meaning anyone who runs into trouble or has an accident is unable to call for help without dedicated equipment. 

NSW Farmers Rural Affairs committee chair Deb Charlton said it was great news Apple was switching on the feature in Australia, and hoped to see this technology get broader adoption. 

“While this won’t help us deal with the issue of data connectivity or being able to run your business from the paddock, this puts safety in more pockets across the country,” Mrs Charlton said.

“We are continuing to advocate for improved mobile phone coverage for farmers and rural communities, because it is a major factor holding country businesses back.

“But in the short term this technology means that even if you’re stuck without a signal and a long way from help, you’ll be able to tell someone where you are, and that’s a good thing.”

The Emergency SOS via satellite capability was launched in the United States and Canada last year and was slowly expanded to other countries. Mrs Charlton said she hoped to see this sort of technology expand onto more devices.

“Like any new technology it’s not cheap – the price of the new iPhone 14 starts at $1399, but it’s an important step forward for safety,” Mrs Charlton said.

“What we’ve seen in the past with safety technology like seatbelts is they become more common, other manufacturers adopt them, and eventually they’re a regular feature.

“For a great big land like Australia, being able to call for help when you’re out of coo-ee will be a gamechanger.” 

Mrs Charlton said NSW Farmers called for a national investment and planning connectivity strategy to determine clear priorities for the future, and the establishment of a Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Fund to resource long-term investment in telecommunications outside of the major cities.

Date: Monday, May 15, 2023
Media Contact: Steve Mudd  | 0429 011 690 |
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