Though 80% of emergency calls come from mobile phones, according to Apple, landline-based infrastructure can make it hard for 911 centers to quickly identify a 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 Global Positioning System and WiFi Access Points.
"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.
"911 telecommunicators do extraordinary work managing millions of emergencies with little more than a voice connection".
Thus, every time an iPhone user calls 911, advanced location pinning will be delivered faster to dispatch centers that are integrated with the RapidSOS NG911 Clearinghouse, and emergency services in 35 states have already done so.
The Federal Communications Commission requires carriers to locate callers to within 164 feet at least 80 percent of the time by 2021.
Apple launched its HELO or Hybridized Emergency Location system in 2015 as part of its answer to this problem.
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In fact, according to the FCC as many as 10,000 lives could be saved each year if the improved system allowed emergency respondors to arrive just one minute quicker.
Apple says the location data can not be shared if 911 has not been called, and that RapidSOS' data will be separate from that held by cellphone carriers. Its location services exceed this requirement today, and now 911 centers will have access to the same accuracy.
This will all go online when iOS 12 ships to iPhones later this year, likely in September. It will see the location of US iPhone users shared with dispatch responders during 911 calls.
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RapidSOS's technology integrates with existing software installed at many 911 centers, which is how they'll receive the data.
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