Outages and spotty software has led to several cases in the last few years where wireless phones have had trouble making 911 emergency calls and it’s been a long road trying to get to a place where mobile phones work as well as landlines for getting help.
Two new improvements − one of them already on deck and another in the form of a patent − may help make some incremental change for cell-phone users. On Google’s Android platform, a recent update for Pixel, Nexus and Android One phones adds a current address and small map automatically when dialing emergency numbers, giving responders more information than they would typically get from that call.
Meanwhile, this week Apple filed a patent for technology that would allow an iPhone user to make a discreet 911 call using the device’s fingerprint sensor, something that could be useful when someone is being watched by an attacker.
The FCC has a handy page that details challenges and requirements for wireless providers in regards to 911 services.
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