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Get emergency ready: Apple iOS 12 enables secure autoshare of emergency location with 911

Author at TechGenyz Apple
iOS 12 Emergency Location
Credit: Apple

Apple’s iPhone brand is back with a bang, and how! It’s a beware bummer for the criminals and miscreants and news to rejoice for the iPhone users in the United States as Apple’s latest iOS flagship, the brand new iOS 12 now brings up the feature of instantaneous and secure location sharing with the first responders of 911, to be introduced later this year. The target is to hit it where it’s needed the most, which is the timely tracking and logistical response strategy to help the person in danger. And to this end, speedy and exacting information is the key to effective emergency response times for saving a person in a crisis situation.

Responding to both Violent crimes and Property crimes, roughly 80 percent of 911 calls are made from mobile devices, wherein telecoms and similar infrastructure of bygone era reduce the response times due to inefficiency in co-ordinating and accurately pinning the exact location of the caller by the 911 centers. To tackle such precarious situations wherein just that little difference in time might be the crucial distance between the caller’s life and death and/or property damage and so on, Apple launched HELO (Hybridized Emergency Location) back in 2015, which estimates and pinpoints a mobile 911 caller’s location using cell towers and device-inbuilt data sources like GPS tracker and WiFi Access Points.

Moreover, Apple announced today that it will make use of the emergency technology company RapidSOS system to sync with HELO feature, in integration with the software of many 911 centers which run as per the industry-standard protocols. RapidSOS’s IP-based data pipeline will immediately and securely share HELO location data with 911 centers, improving response times and consequently the chances of saving more lives.

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. – Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO

However, Apple won’t lose sight of the primacy of its policy of user privacy as the user data will be exclusively used for such dire emergency situations, as only the responding 911 center will be able to access the user’s location during the emergency call.

911 telecommunicators do extraordinary work managing millions of emergencies with little more than a voice connection. We are excited to work with Apple to provide first responders a new path for accurate, device-based caller location using transformative Next Generation 911 technology. – Michael Martin, the CEO of RapidSOS

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) requires that the callers be located within 50 meters by 2021, at least on 80% of the cases. The advanced technology offered by iOS location services do away with restraint, even in densely populated, urban environments, and the feature allows Apple to proffer these essential technological advantages to local 911 centers right now, which is all the more commendable.

We’re thrilled that Apple is giving 911 centers access to device-based location data via a thoroughly-tested, standards-based approach. This will accelerate the deployment of Next Generation 911 for everyone, saving lives and protecting property. – Rob McMullen, the President of the National Emergency Number Association, the 911 Association

Adding to the string of the approving voices for this new feature, Tom Wheeler (FCC Chairman from 2013 to 2017) gave his statement: “This new functionality is an example of how companies and first responders can use technology to dramatically improve public safety. Lives will be saved thanks to this effort by Apple and RapidSOS.”

The California-based multinational technology company has redefined personal technology and innovation in the world with its Macintosh in 1984, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV and so on, and its four software platforms have introduced impressive new services like the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud to the world.

On the social front of Apple’s home country, what with the United States being touted as the country with the highest crime rate in the world in 2018, as per WondersList and Trendrr, it’s up to the technology giants like Apple to contribute to the challenging responsibility of protecting its countrymen bang on, and well before ‘the nick of the time’.