Feeds

Bondi shark alert systems beams warning to nobody on Google Plus

Who's a clever buoy? Not the folks targeting an audience smaller than MySpace

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

An Australian company called Shark Mitigation Systems has come up with something interesting: a sonar-equipped buoy that can spot sharks and then beam information about their presence to lifeguards over Optus' mobile telephony network.

The idea is that the buoys will be tethered off Australia beaches, for two purposes.

The first is to learn more about shark behaviour, which is undoubtedly worthy.

The second is to offer real-time information about lurking piscatorial predators to lifeguards and swimmers. To help those beyond the beach, the alerts will also be sent out over Google Plus.

Before we analyse this, let's acknowledge the nice integration job: building this rig would have required plenty of smarts. Let's also acknowledge that it's a fine idea to prevent any injury or death.

But let's not let this PR exercise – for this is at the core of the project – escape closer examination, not least because the project is solving the wrong problem. As we've previously noted, an Australian “... has a 1 in 3,362 chance of drowning at the beach and a 1 in 292,525 chance of being killed by a shark in one's entire lifetime.”

Australians are understandably paranoid about sharks. But technology to help prevent drowning would save more lives.

Secondly, Google Plus has a small active population in Australia. The Yellow Pages Social Media Report (PDF) suggests only 15 per cent of social media users are on the network, fewer in the beachgoing demographic of 14-29 year olds. The report has Facebook in the high 90 per cents. Socialmedianews.com.au estimates that Facebook has 13.2m users in Australia. Twitter has 2.5m and even MySpace still has 180,000. Google Plus can muster just 65,000.

Choosing Google Plus makes it hard to see this project as purely a public safety exercise. From Vulture South's eyrie it looks hard not to to see it as a more cynical effort to get people to pay attention to Google Plus and feel nice about Optus. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.