Why call 911 when you could text

first_imgThe FCC’s Chairman, Julius Genachowski, has announced an initiative to enhance the nation’s 9-1-1 system to allow it to take advantage of the latest technology offered in mobile phones including texting, mobile video and photos. There’s a lot of incentive to do so since 70 percent of emergency calls come from mobile phones. The challenge is that many 9-1-1 centers don’t have access to broadband to be able to receive such data, and operators haven’t been properly trained on how to communicate using the technologies.Next-Generation 9-1-1, as it is being called, was first proposed in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan. When fully realized 9-1-1 operators would be able to receive text messages from citizens requiring emergency services as well as mobile video and photos which could be used by first responders to better assess and address emergencies. The FCC Chairman used the shootings in 2007 at the Virginia Tech campus as an example of where support of mobile technology could have improved emergency response since students and witnesses tried sending texts to 9-1-1 which were never received. Besides support for mobile phone technologies Next-Generation 9-1-1 would also support automatic alerting which would consist of emergency calls made by devices such as environmental sensors capable of detecting chemicals, highway cameras, security cameras, alarms, personal medical devices, telematics and consumer electronics in automobiles.The announcement of the new initiative comes after a recent order by the FCC which calls for more stringent location accuracy requirements to improve the ability to find individuals who make 9-1-1 calls using their mobile phone. Next month, the FCC plans to hold a proceeding to receive public input on how to begin the transition to a “broadband-enabled, next-generation” 9-1-1 system.Read more at the FCC (PDF)last_img

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