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Beyond Words and Wires…Recovery Begins

Beyond Words and Wires…Recovery Begins

In the aftermath of the horrific events of September 11, 2001, the entire nation came together to mourn the loss of those who died and suffered, and to plan a way to recover as a society as best we could.

No words that I could write here would be adequate to convey how awful the atrocities were to witness or even to watch unfold on TV. Nor can mere words ever do justice to the extraordinary scenes of overwhelming human bravery and the endurance of the human spirit.

Along with amazing individuals like New York City area volunteers who, as you read this, will undoubtedly still be sifting through the ruins, and ordinary people who sat at home - like the 160,000-plus people who donated over $6.5-million dollars to the Red Cross through - many industries came together to pitch in and do their parts as well.

Restaurants in the area worked night and day to provide food for the rescue workers, all the TV networks put aside their ratings war to air a telethon to raise money, and companies large and small donated what they could to help out. Throughout this whole process, the wireless industry wasn't left out: on the contrary, it came together and played a large part in both the relief and the recovery efforts.

Many of the wireless news reports following the incident discussed how the wireless networks, by then missing several transmitters that had been located on the World Trade Center roofs, were buckling under the huge volume of calls being made - calls between loved ones to assure each other that they were okay. In record time, however, additional cells were installed, and the wireless networks were back up and running.

That's just the tip of the iceberg, however, of how wireless vendors were able to pitch in.

A coalition of companies that normally compete with each other and worry day and night about profits and ROI, joined forces to try to find possible survivors in the rubble of the World Trade Center's twin towers. Working with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration) was the newly formed Wireless Emergency Response Team. Companies such as AT&T Wireless Services Inc., Verizon Wireless, Nextel Communications, VoiceStream Wireless, Motorola Inc., Ericsson, Nortel Networks Corp., SkyTel, Telcordia Technologies, Cingular Wireless, and others joined forces in a common goal.

Families and friends of suspected victims of the disaster were encouraged to call a tollfree number and provide mobile-phone and pager numbers of those missing in an effort to activate the devices and, hopefully, locate survivors. Kudos to those in the wireless industry for trying their best, and for sending out their best engineers using the latest in GPS and related technology to help.

In the days following the tragedy, mobile phone vendors sold a month's worth of phones in under a week, reflecting a growing adoption of wireless technology as a way of staying connected with loved ones and friends. With that comes a growing responsibility for the industry as a whole to serve their customers - a responsibility that I believe they're capable of handling.

All in all, it's been an unbelievably rough time, and as the USA and the wider world attempt to heal, the wireless industry will be there to help every step of the way. At WBT we'd like to hear what you think, including your thoughts on what the wireless industry can do in the future to help prevent and deal with emergencies as they happen.

More Stories By Robert Diamond

Robert Diamond is the founder and editor-in-chief of, the premiere theater site on the net now receiving over 100,000 unique visitors a day. He is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media - a leading designer of entertainment and technology web sites. He is also the lead producer on's consistently sold-out Joe's Pub concert series, and Standing Ovations benefit concerts. Diamond was also named one of the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by Folio magazine. Robert holds a BS degree in information management and technology from the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. Visit his blog at

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