Silencing the muttering multitudes

US telecommunications company BlueLinx has teamed up with researchers at the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Telecommunications Information Networking (CTIN) to co-develop Q-Zone, a feature that stops mobile phones from ringing in public places.

There are few things in life more annoying than people who simply cannot ignore the ringing of their mobile phones. These inconsiderate individuals will stop at nothing to answer that one call. The stunning denouement of a three-hour play, the virtuoso display of a classical soloist, and the intimate conversation of a table for two – none are safe from the invidious bleep of the tiny black box.

Now, however, US telecommunications company BlueLinx has teamed up with researchers at the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Telecommunications Information Networking (CTIN) to co-develop Q-Zone, a feature that stops mobile phones from ringing in public places, and takes the decision of whether or not to answer that one call out of the hands of the obsessed phone-aholic.

Q-Zone is an optional location-based courtesy feature that allows public venues to control audible interruptions from mobile phones and other wireless electronic devices. This patent-pending system creates ‘quiet zones’ in restaurants, churches, theatres, and conference rooms by automatically lowering alert tone volumes while users are inside the zone.

When users leave the zone, alert systems return to normal settings. Q-Zone is based on Bluetooth wireless technology.

‘By collaborating with CTIN, we gain access to a recognised centre for Bluetooth excellence,’ says Jeff Griffin, President and CEO of BlueLinx. ‘As mobile phones continue to provide more services, consumer demand for new features like Q-Zone will also increase. By combining our efforts with CTIN we can provide consumers and the wireless industry with timely solutions to their needs.’

According to company officials, the co-operative effort will streamline research and development of additional Bluetooth location-based products, allowing manufacturers to bring new applications to market faster.