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Google and Apple and Text-to-911: Let's Keep the Faith

Posted on September 6, 2019 by Dave Sehnert

Few things are as maddening as when a software release is issued and almost immediately the developer is pushing out patches. But that’s just the way it is with technology—things often don’t always work the way they’re supposed to right away.

Recently we’ve been hearing about problems associated with a new feature of Apple’s iPhone operating system (iOS) that reportedly has been generating a lot of abandoned 911 calls. The Emergency SOS feature enables citizens to place an emergency call without actually dialing 911; those designated as emergency contacts also will be alerted.

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The Five Biggest Takeaways from This Year’s NENA Conference

Posted on June 28, 2019 by Dave Sehnert

If you didn’t travel to Orlando last week for the annual National Emergency Number Association (NENA) conference, it can be summed up with one word: progress. The key themes were industry advancement and innovation with several game-changing technologies and initiatives being launched.

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NENA Conference and MCP's MAPS Program Will Help Prepare You for What's Coming

Posted on June 7, 2019 by Dave Sehnert

After taking a look at the breakout sessions scheduled for the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) trade show and conference—which will be held June 14-19 in Orlando—a clear theme immediately emerged: preparing the nation’s 911 centers for what’s coming next.

And there’s a lot coming. 

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Cautious Optimism Surrounds CTIA Announcement Regarding Improving 911 Location Accuracy

Posted on September 10, 2018 by Dave Sehnert

Last week was a great week for public safety—at least we think it was. Let me explain.

CTIA, the trade association that represents wireless communications carriers, announced that the four largest nationwide wireless carriers in the United States—AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon—will integrate device-based hybrid (DBH) location solutions into their networks. DBH technology has evolved rapidly, and trials have shown that they deliver location information much faster and much more accurately than the Wireless Phase II data delivered by the location technologies currently employed by the carriers.

To date in the United States, device-based hybrid location technology comes in two flavors: Hybridized Emergency Location (HELO) developed for Apple’s iPhone operating system and Emergency Location Service (ELS) developed for Google’s Android OS. Both technologies aggregate numerous data sources—e.g., the Global Positioning System (GPS), Bluetooth beacons, Wi-Fi hotspots, data from mapping/navigation applications, and activity-based apps—to deliver more-accurate location data, particularly indoors, for 911 calls made from smartphones.

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Leveraging Social Media Data in Charleston County, SC

Posted on July 20, 2018 by Dave Sehnert

Recent history has shown that, when 911 becomes overwhelmed, citizens turn to social media in an effort to have their pleas for help heard.

Last fall, Texans trapped in homes flooded by Hurricane Harvey used the social radio network app Zello to contact the volunteer Cajun Navy fleet and posted their addresses on Facebook and Twitter to aide emergency medical services in locating them. After a 7.1 magnitude earthquake collapsed buildings in Mexico City, volunteers used WhatsApp to recruit and mobilize informal search and rescue teams before the army, navy and civil protection units were mobilized. When wild fires destroyed parts of California over the course of several months, many turned to social media to plead for help locating missing loved ones and to mark themselves as “safe” using Facebook’s Crisis Response feature when they could not reach friends and relatives.

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