This kind of service has been in the works for some time, and has been in demand for even longer. Since text and GPS has been a normal feature on phones people have wanted a way to text 911 to both ask for help and to give the phones exact location to get help there quicker. Well, it seems Verizon is stepping up their game in helping to provide this service for anyone and everyone.
The FCC has been working on new rules on how customers can text 911 and how their location can then be tapped almost immediately. In order to do this they needed a better GPS infrastructure on both hardware, software and a way for the text to know when to give such information to the authorities. The FCC is happy to show praise where it’s due as Verizon selected Telecommunication Systems to help build the infrastructure needed to help those in need. They expect this service to be available to anyone and everyone with a cellphone by 2013.
But why would anyone want to text 911 instead of just calling them? There are plenty of moments from horror movies where a good text to 911 with gps location attached would have been handy, but lets be a bit more realistic here. It’s actually a bit easier to text “there has been a car accident, please help!” with a GPS location attached then to call. The reason being you can either help, or get somewhere safe a bit quicker. Or, if you’re in no shape to actually speak, texting may be a much simpler way to ask for help. Or, perhaps, if you’re in a loud location where speaking on the phone would be completely impossible. The type of situations where you could use this are endless and sorely needed.
The GPS infrastructure was needed because not all GPS devices are created equal. I know from experience that sometimes my phone can take a few moments to calculate my position accurately. With the improved system in place, after you text the 911 service will have your phone and attempt to locate. With the GPS infrastructure it will be able to pinpoint your position quickly and send the data to any emergency services nearby. Imagine being in an ambulance and seeing a GPS device flare up with a point on their map and details of what they’re in for. No need to make any calls with possible errors, you get the exact location and situation in seconds.
regardless if you have a used cell phone or a brand new smart phone, this service should be able to work with almost every single device out there, since most have built in GPS, even free feature phones. I’m pretty excited about this advancement and can’t wait to see the final details when it launches one year from now.