iPhone® users in the United States who call 911 will be able to
automatically and securely share their location data with first
responders beginning later this year with iOS 12, providing faster and
more accurate information to help reduce emergency response times.
Approximately 80 percent of 911 calls today come from mobile devices,
but outdated, landline-era infrastructure often makes it difficult for
911 centers to quickly and accurately obtain a mobile caller’s location.
To address this challenge, Apple® launched HELO (Hybridized Emergency
Location) in 2015, which estimates a mobile 911 caller’s location using
cell towers and on-device data sources like GPS and WiFi Access Points.
Apple today announced it will also use emergency technology company
RapidSOS’s Internet Protocol-based data pipeline to quickly and securely
share HELO location data with 911 centers, improving response time when
lives and property are at risk. RapidSOS’s system will deliver the
emergency location data of iOS users by integrating with many 911
centers’ existing software, which rely on industry-standard protocols.
“Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they
should have the best available technology at their disposal,” said Tim
Cook, Apple’s CEO. “When every moment counts, these tools will help
first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance.”
In keeping with Apple’s focus on privacy, user data cannot be used for
any non-emergency purpose and only the responding 911 center will have
access to the user’s location during an emergency call.
“911 telecommunicators do extraordinary work managing millions of
emergencies with little more than a voice connection,” said RapidSOS
CEO, Michael Martin. “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.”
The FCC requires carriers to locate callers to within 50 meters at least
80 percent of the time by 2021. iOS location services are capable of
exceeding this requirement today, even in challenging, dense, urban
environments. This new feature allows Apple to make these benefits
available to local 911 centers now rather than years from now.
“We’re thrilled that Apple is giving 911 centers access to device-based
location data via a thoroughly-tested, standards-based approach,” said
Rob McMullen, President of the National Emergency Number Association,
the 911 Association. “This will accelerate the deployment of Next
Generation 911 for everyone, saving lives and protecting property.”
“This new functionality is an example of how companies and first
responders can use technology to dramatically improve public safety,”
said Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman from 2013 to 2017. “Lives will be saved
thanks to this effort by Apple and RapidSOS.”
“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. “This advancement from Apple and RapidSOS
will be transformative for emergency response in the United States.”
Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the
Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with
iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s four software
platforms — iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences
across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services
including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s more
than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on
earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.
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