In an attempt to save lives, Apple has announced that iOS 12 will be using this feature to immediately share the location of the caller with dispatch when USA residents attempt to contact emergency services.
The goal is to give 911 call centers quick access to location data in extreme cases where the caller can not relay this information on his own.
Over the past five years, RapidSOS has visited thousands of public safety agencies around the country, said founder and CEO Michael Martin. "When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance". It will see the location of US iPhone users shared with dispatch responders during 911 calls.
According to Apple, 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. That system relied on cell towers and on-device data sources like Wi-Fi Access Points and GPS. The feature can't be accessed for non-emergency calls.
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Google also has its own version of the technology, called Android Emergency Location Services (ELS), available on more recent Android phones.
The smartphone giant emphasized the security aspects of this feature, saying it will not provide the caller's name and that it will only share the location information in an emergency for privacy reasons. The iPhone maker is now planning to use another system made by an emergency technology firm called RapidSOS to make things even faster.
First announced on June 4, iOS 12 will arrive on iPhone and iPad this fall.
The case could impact the multibillion-dollar app ecosystem, and efforts by companies like Apple to establish a so-called "walled garden" for software on their devices. It states that carriers must "locate callers to within 50 meters at least 80 percent of the time by 2021".