When an emergency strikes, getting help to the destination as quickly as possible is immensely important. Apple recently announced that their iOS 12 upgrade includes enhanced emergency technology. The company enlisted the aid of RapidSOS to incorporate the Internet Protocol, which is designed to share HELO location data from mobile phones with 911 centers across the country.
Statistics indicate that approximately 80 percent of all emergency calls come from mobile phones. However, traditional landline infrastructure poses a hindrance when determining the exact location of the emergency. By having the ability to track and locate the phone, first responders arrive on scene quicker, which helps to save lives.
In 2015, Apple iPhones included the HELO or Hybridized Emergency Location technology. In this way, 911 centers were able to use local cell towers, GPS and WiFi to estimate the caller’s location. Yet, the technology was often not able to pinpoint an exact location. The FCC also mandates that by 2021, carriers implement the ability to find callers within 50 meters of their precise location. The RapidSOS software exceeds the demand whether iPhone owners are in rural or densely-populated cities.
When an emergency center receives a call, they traditionally relied on information from the caller to determine the location of the situation. The new software benefits call centers, first responders and individuals needing assistance alike. Apple representatives share that the technology will also function on non-LTE Apple Watches.
The new upgrade is not the international Advanced Mobile Location technology that exists on current models of Apple iPhones. Individuals having new iOS 12 phones also have the option of disabling Rapid SOS if desired. However, Apple maintains that the privacy of phone owners remains protected. The tracking ability and data submitted during an emergency call is not available in other instances.
FCC Chairman Dennis Patrick believes the RapidSOS upgrade was desperately needed to enhance public safety. Determining the location of an emergency caller is often difficult if the call is placed using a mobile device. The new technology ensures that firefighters, law enforcement and paramedics have the opportunity to respond faster when knowing where they immediately know where they are needed. The president of the National Emergency Number Association agrees that the tested and successful improvement will better help save lives and protect personal and public property.