Apple’s iPhone will speed up 911 location info for first responders

Alonzo Simpson
June 18, 2018

Emergency responders are sometimes dispatched a mile or more away from a caller's location.

"911 telecommunicators do extraordinary work managing millions of emergencies with little more than a voice connection".

The new addition builds on Apple's HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location) system that was launched in 2015, which uses cell data, GPS data and Wi-Fi access points to estimate a caller's whereabouts.

RapidSOS's system will deliver the emergency location data of iOS users by integrating with many 911 centers' existing software, which rely on industry-standard protocols.

The iOS 12 feature is aimed at providing faster and more accurate information to first-responders and cutting emergency response times.

Apple's software update will automatically and securely share their location data with 911 dispatchers in an effort to improve accuracy and reduce response times.

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Apple is trying to solve a potentially unsafe emergency response infrastructure problem. The company expects this to increase to a majority of centers by the end of the year, according to The Wall Street Journal. It's another iOS 12 feature that the company is touting with ample privacy measures attached to it.

iOS 12 is due out this fall and the combined systems could go a long way to helping carriers meet FCC rules that require them to be able to locate callers within 50 meters at least 80 percent of the time by 2021. "This will accelerate the deployment of Next Generation 911 for everyone, saving lives and protecting property".

The iOS 12 change list now includes a potentially life-saving upgrade in the United States, one that will allow first responders to pinpoint your whereabouts in an emergency.

"Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal", Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement released via Apple's press department.

Only the 911 calling centers will be able to see the data during the call, and none of it can be used for non-emergency purposes, according to Apple. Responders can start a location-accurate dispatching process more quickly, coming to the aid of children who don't know their current address, confused accident victims, and suicidal individuals.

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