Accurate caller location in case of an emergency is one of the most significant pieces of information an emergency call-taker can use. Caller location can be detrimental for the safety of the public in many ways – the decision on which emergency resource is dispatched, the quickest route to get to the incident, and so on.
Apple announced on 24 January that iPhone’s next update iOS 11.3 – available this Spring – will support Advanced Mobile Location (AML).
An AML-enabled smartphone recognises when an emergency call is made and, if not already activated, activates the phone’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) to collect the caller’s location information. The handset then sends an automatic SMS to the emergency services with the caller’s location, before turning the GNSS off again. The service can also use Wi-Fi, depending on which is better at a given moment.
EENA, the European Emergency Number Association, has congratulated Apple on its announcement, which it says will make people safer and save lives. EENA is a non-governmental organisation based in Brussels, with the mission to contribute to improving the safety and security of people. The association has highlighted that in the countries where AML is already operational on smartphones, many lives have been saved thanks to the technology. It says the upcoming iPhone update is therefore a major improvement in the daily work of emergency and rescue services.