Mobile Phone Companies Make Strides Toward 911 Emergency Texting

By Frank Griffin December 07, 2012

Public safety answering points, or PSAPs, face many challenges when they receive emergency calls. Life-threatening information has to be passed on to emergency responders as soon as possible because time is critical in most situations. While mobile technology provides many ways to communicate with each other, during a 911 call locating the caller accurately can be difficult. The introduction of NG911, or Next Generation 911, provides multiple ways in which a caller can relay their emergency, including real-time text, images, video and other data. Four major mobile phone service providers have agreed to implement this system as part of their service to help customers and emergency service operators.

AT&T, Verizon Communications, Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile will start providing 911 texting services, with wider service areas by 2013 and nationwide availability by May, 2014. 


Image via Shutterstock

The upgrade is a complete overhaul of the entire emergency responding system. It will be based on an IP architecture instead of the circuit-switched system being used. This will allow different types of data to be transmitted to emergency centers giving first responders the ability to prepare and respond accordingly to the emergency.

Until the service is available nationwide, carriers will put an automatic bounce back text message by June 30, 2013. This feature will inform the caller that text-to-911 is not available in their location and they will have to make a voice call.

The ability to use 911 texting is especially beneficial for people who have speech and hearing disabilities.  Generally they have to use TTYs or TDDs telecommunications devices. While the machines work well with land line and mobile phones, the response time is not as fast as a voice call. Texting will allow them to relay their emergency clearly so they can get the help they need as soon as possible.

Texting an emergency can come in handy in many situations where a voice call is not possible or it could jeopardize the safety of the caller. The additional features of the NG911 service will give police officers video and audio evidence when a crime has taken place instantly.

"Access to 911 must catch up with how consumers communicate in the 21st century and today, we are one step closer towards that vital goal," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said.




Edited by Brooke Neuman

TechZone360 Contributing Writer

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

UAV Growth, Challenges, and the Future

By: Frank Segarra    5/4/2018

Despite the growing opportunities in the drone industry, challenges still exist that may hamper or prevent the level of growth forecasted by industry …

Read More

Mitel Going Private, Managed Services Giant with Rackspace on the Horizon?

By: Erik Linask    4/26/2018

Mitel is once again in the news. The 45-year-old communications provider has been on the buying end of multiple transactions in its quest to transform…

Read More

Four Reasons to Reach for the Cloud after World Earth Day

By: Special Guest    4/23/2018

The World Earth Day agenda offers a chance to flip the rationale for cloud adoption and highlight environmental benefits that the technology brings pr…

Read More

Bloomberg BETA: Models Are Key to Machine Intelligence

By: Paula Bernier    4/19/2018

James Cham, partner at seed fund Bloomberg BETA, was at Cisco Collaboration Summit today talking about the importance of models to the future of machi…

Read More