In a press release, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal". "When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance". RapidSOS's system will integrate with 911 centers' existing software (which use protocols based on industry standards) and deliver the location information of iOS users who used the 911 emergency calling option.
Right now, emergency services trace the location of an iPhone through a technology named Hybridized Emergency Location (HELO), which the company had launched as a new feature back in 2015.
Apple is trying to drag the U.S.'s antiquated system for handling 911 calls into the 21st century.
Over the past five years, RapidSOS has visited thousands of public safety agencies around the country, said founder and CEO Michael Martin. To address this challenge, Apple launched HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location) in 2015, which estimates a mobile 911 callers location using cell towers and on-device data sources like Global Positioning System and WiFi Access Points.
Not all callers in an emergency know where they are, and some can not verbally communicate their location. What may surprise some people is that it's still hard for emergency responders to pinpoint someone who calls 911 via cell phone.
Sources stated that Apple's 911 feature dependent on technology from a NY startup company, RapidSOS.
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According to Apple, almost four in five 911 calls are presently coming from mobile devices, but 911 centers still have technologies built primarily for the landline-era infrastructure, so locating 911 mobile callers is extremely hard.
The FCC is requiring carriers to be able to locate callers to within 50 meters at least 80 percent of the time, but those rules don't take effect until 2021. Today, Apple said it will additionally use RapidSOS's Internet Protocol-based data pipeline to securely share this HELO location data with 911 centers, to improve the response times even further.
Google also has its own version of the technology, called Android Emergency Location Services (ELS), available on more recent Android phones.
Helping 911 services quickly and accurately assess caller location has been a major issue since my time at the FCC, said Dennis Patrick, FCC Chairman from 1987 to 1989.
iOS 12 had got unveiled early this month during WWDC 2018 and is set for public release, later on during fall, integrated with Next Generation 911 technology absolutely free.