911 Feature in iOS 12 to Accurately determine location of caller
In this day and age, where we are all instantly connected with anyone we want, emergency services still are pretty rudimentary. Most of the times there is a delay in response, and the biggest factor is the unavailability of the caller’s location to the respondent. Apple has taken up the mantle to solve the issue by integrating the 911 feature in iOS 12.
Apple already has HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location). The 911 emergency system will build on HELO to provide emergency respondents accurate location of people stuck in an emergency. HELO uses GPS, Wi-Fi APNs, and cell towers to approximate the location of the caller. Apple has also struck a deal with RapidSOS. They will quickly and securely transmit the location data to the nearest emergency respondents.
Concerning privacy, Apple clarified that its 911 feature in iOS 12 will never use the data for any other purpose. The data will be accessible only to the emergency respondent.
The emergency services currently operate on an outdated architecture and every minute lost amounts to about 10000 lives a year. The Government of USA plans to ensure by 2021 that all carriers will be able to determine the location of 911 callers within 50 meters of radius at least 80% of times. Apple’s 911 feature in iOS 12 is already able to achieve this goal.
This move by Apple to increase accessibility during emergencies indicates the rise of a new era. Giant corporations aren’t just money making factories, but also care about the well-being of the general public. Such an increasing sense of responsibility and efforts to increase active participation in the societal issues by tech companies paint a bright future of technology. Maybe there is still hope for humanity.