Verizon to Allow Customers to SMS Their SOS Messages for Help in 2013

Rather than place your distress calls to a dispatch operator, Verizon Wireless is looking to be the first carrier in the U.S. to allow its customers to instead text their SOS messages to a 911 operator. The move will not only be beneficial to those with disabilities–such as the deaf–but also will be invaluable in situations where calling and talking on the phone to a 911 dispatch operator may not be possible, such as in a dangerous situation where you’re hiding from an intruder or a violent person.

After learning about some situations where users were unable to call for help, the FCC had asked carriers to come together in 2010 to develop a solution for the digital age, but nothing had resulted as part of those talks until now.

VentureBeat had reported that in 2009, two girls who were trapped in a storm drain had updated their Facebook status before emergency help was summed. In a separate incident, a man who did not have enough battery life in his phone to dial for help had tweeted about a woman having a seizure hoping someone would radio for help.

So despite SMS falling to wayside due to advances such as Research in Motion’s beloved BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) or Apple’s iMessage, there is still a place for the aging technology. In situations where networks are congested and calls cannot be made–such as after a disaster–usually SMS systems can still be used. And as we’ve learned, SMS can be easier on battery life on phones as well.

Verizon’s system is expected to launch in 2013. Hopefully, with the 160-character limitations of SMS messages, Verizon’s system will also integrate location data from internal GPS radios that are common on today’s phones.

Comments

  1. Grant Fox says

    Internet Business Enterprises LLC is proud to announce the launch
    of our website 911TM. 911TM is an emergency instant messaging system that
    participating 9-1-1 centers nationwide can use to locate and send help as you
    type.
    911TM is Instant Messaging…Not SMS!
    Short
    Message Service (SMS; created mid 1980’s) texting has been proven over time to
    be incompatible with getting help in a reliable manner; there are message size
    limitations, timely delivery is not guaranteed and currently no reliable method
    of delivering messages to the correct center when traveling across state or
    county borders.
    With
    911TM, you are linked to the appropriate 9-1-1 center based on your device’s
    exact location. As long as your smart
    device has a data package and you are connected, your typed message will arrive
    at the closest contact center almost instantaneously and in the proper order;
    every time.
    Privacy
    is a sensitive issue for all. Tracking your location only starts once you have
    made contact through 911TM. Our system
    locates and shares that current information with dispatchers to help find you
    as quickly as possible.
    Why do I need 911TM?
    Unfortunately,
    we all live in a world where bad things happen daily. Being able to get help
    when you need it without saying a word is powerful. All you have to do is think
    about classroom’s full of students in lockdown or domestic violence situations
    where talking might mean the difference between life and death to realize how
    useful this tool becomes.
    Many of
    us take for granted our ability to hear and speak. Being able to contact 9-1-1
    by means of an app on your smart device means not having to worry about
    carrying a TTY device or whether or not 9-1-1 will understand your needs. 911TM
    has you covered.
    There is a cost..
    Contrary
    to popular belief, 9-1-1 services are not free. While taxes pay a good portion
    of the costs, they only cover current technologies. Approximately 1 percent of
    your cell phone bill every month goes to pay 9-1-1 taxes and yet 9-1-1 centers
    nation-wide are being combined and jobs are lost because the current taxes can
    not cover the costs; let alone bring in new technology. Pay as you go cell
    phones in many states have become the new way to stay in touch, but they are
    not required to pay these taxes, reducing funds even further. 911TM’s subscription fees are used to help in
    part with this problem. Participating 9-1-1 centers will be contracted with and
    paid directly for every contact they manage through our service.
    Sign up now?
    911TM
    is a complex system; and it does take time to finalize connections and train
    new users. For that reason we have started the pre-enrollment phase of
    gathering subscribers to better serve your communities.
    Interested? Subscribe
    here (https://911tm.com/ca.cfm) now and follow the instructions to download and install the currently
    available Android- based mobile app. The IPhone version will be available this
    summer. If there are any questions please contact me at [email protected].

Leave a Reply