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Bluetooth message saves scousers' livers

Mobile connectivity enrolled in battle against antisocial behaviour

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Hundreds of scousers downloaded an application to calculate how many units of alcohol they had drunk on New Year's eve, from Bluetooth servers supplied by Liverpool trading standards and Merseyside Police.

Unlike previous campaigns, which required those carousing to have Bluetooth devices enabled and receptive, the Liverpool campaign used adverts projected onto walls and buildings around the city centre to encourage drinkers to turn on their Bluetooth connectivity and offered the incentive of a Java application to enable them to keep track of their drinking during the evening.

Automatically tracking the booze someone ingests is still beyond even the most capable mobile phone, so the application instead gets drinkers to select their preferred brand of poison along with the quantity - information it uses to calculate the number of units consumed based on NHS figures.

What proportion of Liverpudlian drinkers saw the application as an easy way to keep score in the race to liver failure we do not know. But punters received an animated GIF suggesting that they might not want to get into a car with someone they hardly know or smash a pint glass into someone's face, targeted at local ladies and gentlemen respectively.

It is hard to measure the success of a project such as this, given that it runs in tandem with the annual efforts of the police and local community to reduce drunken behaviour, but it seems that the marketers are starting to understand how to use Bluetooth to reach out. ®

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