Dec 182014

Today I happened to come across a story about a priest who uses a signal blocker to stop phones from shrieking, bleeping, or blurting during church services. Very possibly illegal, although it’s quite understandable.

After all a church service is just like a theatrical performance and the distraction of phones is likely to put people off. We need more quiet at times – such as in the theatre, church, the quiet carriage in a train, or even a meeting room.

But a signal blocker is going too far – if there is an emergency, we need to be able to use our phones. And asking people does not work – there are always a few people who won’t bother to silence their phones. Not necessarily because they don’t care, but sometimes simply because they don’t think of it.

Rather than blocking phones, we need to tell phones to silent themselves automatically.

And it could be quite easy to do. In quiet zones, simply broadcast a well accepted SSID (“QUIETPLACE” perhaps?) and configure phones to automatically mute themselves when they see such an SSID. It would require support from phone manufacturers as most of us wouldn’t bother if we have to set something up – or even just install an App to do it, but it’s certainly possible.

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