In a world that has become smartphone and app friendly we are still light years behind when and where it really matters. We can push a button on our phones and get anything from groceries to a cab ride, while never having to give them our address. Uber and other ride companies utilize Satellite to pinpoint your location within a few feet, all while you watch on your phone as the car drives to you. Want a pizza delivered, hit the app, choose your toppings, pay by a credit card stored in your device, hit accept and it will magically make it to your location.
When was the last time we picked up our home phone and called to have a pizza delivered to our home? For the millennials reading this let me explain; a home phone is actually a “phone” that hung on your kitchen wall, you had to dial the phone number, all of the phone numbers were in a book that everyone had, and you could only walk as far as the phone cord would allow you. You didn’t play games on the phone (beside crank phone calls), you did not text anyone, and it never worked driving down the road.
So I am not down on technology, the advances made over the last twenty years are amazing and while many of the uses are worthless, many have made life safer and easier. My issue is why we have not as consumers insisted that technology be applied to our 911 systems? While an Uber can find you within a few feet, dial 911 and if you’re lucky we can pinpoint your location within a couple hundred yards. Is our pizza delivery really more critical than our emergency services delivery?
911 centers, especially in Missouri, are funded through a tax on our “land lines”. As more and more people utilize cellular, more and more people are cancelling these land lines. This loss of revenue makes it hard for 911 centers to stay current with technology. To make matters worse when you call 911 on your land line the physical address of that phone appears on the 911 screen, when you call by cellular (because you have no landline) no address appears and locating you can be difficult at best.
In the news over the past few weeks there seems to be some pressure on the Big Tech Companies to create safeguards for our children. Why are we not putting pressure on the Tech Companies to put the same priority on the 911 systems? While we are doing what we can in this area with apps like RaftUp, it depends on people subscribing. This technology needs to be built into every cellular device sold.
The Wall Street Journal recently did an article and found that US Regulators estimate as many as 10,000 lives could be saved each year if the 911 emergency dispatching systems were able to get to callers one minute faster. Well at least our pizza will still be hot when it arrives.