Apple’s iOS 13 Offers 2 New 9-1-1 Features
Friday, October 04, 2019 | Comments

Apple executives outlined two new 9-1-1-related features introduced in iOS 13 in an FCC filing. The features include location-based routing (LBR) of 9-1-1 calls and text to 9-1-1.

iOS 13 offers wireless carriers the option to enable LBR for radio access technologies. By providing a fast Hybridized Emergency Location (HELO) estimate during 9-1-1 call setup, Apple devices can reduce the number of calls for which transfers may be required. If a location estimate cannot be provided quickly, carriers may fall back to the existing fixed-sector routing mechanism.

To achieve routing improvements, carriers should work with individual 9-1-1 authorities to acquire and deconflict geographical information system (GIS) “shape files” that represent their service-area boundaries.

Local 9-1-1 authorities should contact the wireless carriers serving their juris- diction to discuss enabling LBR, the filing said. Whenever possible, authorities should ensure that a consistent set of routing maps is provided to each carrier and updated regularly. Additionally, authorities should coordinate maps with neighboring jurisdictions to protect against overlaps and underlaps.

Additionally, iOS 13 makes available precise, device-based location information through the traditional carrier-network path and through Apple’s enhanced emergency data service, when a user texts 9-1-1 in a jurisdiction that accepts text messages. As iOS 13 rolls out via software updates, public-safety answering points (PSAPs) should begin to see dramatically lower uncertainties for users who text 9-1-1 from an iPhone or Apple Watch, reducing response times and improving outcomes for users.

Text-enabled PSAPs should contact their carrier, text control center, and text- handling software representatives to ensure that both the location estimate and search area guidance provided by HELO will be delivered automatically to telecommunicators and dispatchers during a text-to-9-1-1 session.

Location data will also be available to jurisdictions using Apple’s enhanced emergency data feature via Apple’s partnership with RapidSOS. In some cases, call-taking, CAD or text-handling software may require an update to automatically fetch enhanced emergency data feature locations for text sessions.

The filing with more information is here.

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