FCC proposes Apple and other wireless services provide text-to-911

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday proposed a set of guidelines regarding emergency text-to-911 messages that would require cellular carrier and internet-based messaging providers like Apple to support the initiative.

Messages


According to a statement from the FCC, the body hopes to add messaging services like Apple's Messages app to an existing voluntary commitment from the four largest U.S. cellular carriers, all of which promised to activate text-to-911 capabilities by 2014.

"Implementing text-to-911 will keep pace with how consumers communicate today and can provide a lifesaving alternative in situations where a person with a hearing or speech disability is unable to make a voice call, where voice networks are congested, or where a 911 voice call could endanger the caller," the FCC said.

In the proposal, the Commission calls for "over the top" text messaging apps, or those that support sending texts to phone numbers, to allow for the transmission of emergency messages to 911 call centers. Apple's Messages, formerly called iMessage, is a prime example of a so-called "over the top" app as the service is data-based and doesn't rely on a cellular network's SMS assets.

The FCC is looking to smoothly transition into what it calls "Next-generation 911," or the move to cutting-edge communications that will reportedly enhance how first responders react to emergency situations. Messaging apps are seen as a natural evolution to texts as an increasing number of mobile users are choosing data-based alternatives to SMS and MMS.

"By proposing to extend text-to-911 requirements to certain ?over the top? applications [...] the FCC?s proposal would ensure that as text messaging evolves, consumers will
be able to reach 911 by the same texting methods they use every day," it said.

A report in November saw apps like Messages cause a decline in U.S. texts for the first time in years, suggesting the proliferation of smartphones and tablets is taking its toll on the longstanding SMS protocol.

Apple most recently expanded the cross-platform capabilities of Messages with an updated OS X version in Mountain Lion 10.8.2, which allows the Mac client to receive messages sent to a user's phone number.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14


    Subject: Fire. "Dear Sir stroke Madam, I am writing to inform you of a fire which has broken out at the premises of..."


     


     


    no, that's too formal. 


     


     


     "Dear Sir stroke Madam. Fire, exclamation mark. Fire, exclamation mark. Help me, exclamation mark. 123 Carrendon Road. Looking forward to hearing from you. All the best, Maurice Moss."

  • Reply 2 of 14
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    OMG 187 @ HOME ADDY GF NOT BRTHNG CANT RECESIT8 SEND HLP ASAP 10Q.
  • Reply 3 of 14


    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    OMG 187 @ HOME ADDY GF NOT BRTHNG CANT RECESIT8 SEND HLP ASAP 10Q.


     


    "A22, Code 1 at [address], female not giving birth; no need to rush; head on over for a Code 7 afterward."

  • Reply 4 of 14
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    gm7cadd9 wrote: »
    <span style="font-family:sans-serif;line-height:19px;">Subject: Fire. "Dear Sir stroke Madam, I am writing to inform you of a fire which has broken out at the premises of..."</span>



    <span style="font-family:sans-serif;line-height:19px;">no, that's too formal. </span>



    <span style="font-family:sans-serif;line-height:19px;"> "Dear Sir stroke Madam. Fire, exclamation mark. Fire, exclamation mark. Help me, exclamation mark. 123 Carrendon Road. Looking forward to hearing from you. All the best, Maurice Moss."</span>

    -or-

    ????????????????????????????????????? 9?1?1????????? ????
  • Reply 5 of 14
    This is going to take some time, to type regardless how young you are (and how short the msg would be). Better to speak up, no? Nevertheless, there are time for example during a bank heist perhaps.
  • Reply 6 of 14
    cgjcgj Posts: 276member


    Texting 999 has been around in the UK for quite some time now.


     


    All we need to do is send a text to 999 saying 'register' (only required once), and then after that you just send a simple string like: 'ambulance. man having heart attack. outside post office, barnsley.'


     


    Simple as that.

  • Reply 7 of 14
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member


    :( !!!!!

  • Reply 8 of 14
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    According to a statement from the FCC, the body hopes to add messaging services like Apple's Messages app to an existing voluntary commitment from the four largest U.S. cellular carriers, all of which promised to activate text-to-911 capabilities by 2014.


    By 2014? Some 22 year old programmer probably had it figured out in 15 minutes during a foosball break.


    Likely they are trying to figure out how to "monetize" (to steal a recent word) text messages to 911 before doing it.

  • Reply 9 of 14
    Messages on the iPhone already supports this via carrier SMS, if the carrier supports it. Through iMessages doesn't work unless 911 is going off Macs etc.

    If you have a 4s/5 you can have Siri write the message for you.
  • Reply 10 of 14


    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

    If you have a 4s/5 you can have Siri write the message for you.


     


    Probably not if there's a steel rod in your chest.

  • Reply 11 of 14
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post


    By 2014? Some 22 year old programmer probably had it figured out in 15 minutes during a foosball break.


    Likely they are trying to figure out how to "monetize" (to steal a recent word) text messages to 911 before doing it.



    That is highly unlikely. When pay phones existed a million years ago, if you needed to dial 9-11, you didn't even have to insert change. Enabling emergency services isn't likely to be something they can monetize. They may simply need to ensure a minimum level of reliability to the service. Otherwise they won't offer it. I'm not even sure if monetizing emergency services is legal.

  • Reply 12 of 14
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    OMG 187 @ HOME ADDY GF NOT BRTHNG CANT RECESIT8 SEND HLP ASAP 10Q.


     


    LEG CUT OFF LOL ;D


     


    OTHER LEG NOW!!! ROFL


     


    C U SOON?

  • Reply 13 of 14
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,666member
    This is a good thing, I hope Apple gets on board. More so I hope that whatever they implement makes use of GPS and other modern phone technologies. There are many cases where voice communications in an emergency can be difficult. We aren't talking about just the death and mute community either. For one sometimes emergencys happen when you have no precise idea where you are.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    Enabling emergency services isn't likely to be something they can monetize. 



    Which is why I said it is taking them so long to enable it. They are trying to figure out how they can do it.


    Not by charging for the specific text but likely get another fee added to everyone's cell bill.

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