What you need to know
- EENA wants tech companies to work with emergency services.
- Apple Watch can automatically call 911 if needed.
- But it doesn't always go according to plan..
The European Emergency Number Association (EENA) represents thousands of European emergency services in more than 80 countries. And it wants companies like Apple to consult emergency services before employing technology that can automatically call 911.
Apple Watch features Fall Detection which can already call emergency services if it believes it is required, and it's already been shown to have saved lives. And the EENA has itself shared a tweet (via 9to5Mac) in which an 80-year-old woman suffered a fall.
In April, an 80-year-old woman suffered a fall in her house in 🇩🇪 while alone. Her watch not only detected the fall, but successfully alerted emergency services and her emergency contact to the scene, potentially saving her life.— EENA112 (@112_sos) December 2, 2019
But also… (1/7)
But the tweets continued, with an example of when things go wrong shortly following.
In Nov, #emergencyservices in 🇪🇸 were dispatched to respond to an emergency unlike others: a connected device had sent an automated notification together with some coordinates.— EENA112 (@112_sos) December 2, 2019
Unsure of what to expect, they arrived at the place to find… nothing. (2/7)
They couldn’t take their minds off one detail - what if something had actually happened, but data received was inaccurate/incomplete?— EENA112 (@112_sos) December 2, 2019
What if there was someone waiting for help that wouldn’t arrive…? (3/7)
The tweets went on to link to a new EENA initiative to help bring emergency services and tech companies together to help make sure everything is working optimally.
Many wearables, connected devices and more, now count with special built-in features that can detect emergencies and also communicate with emergency services. But these same emergency services are often not involved in the development of these features, which can result in flawed communications. Data sometimes cannot be processed at emergency response centres, together with an increase of emergency alerts due to false alarms.
The page also notes that it's possible people could be put in danger by poorly implemented systems. The same systems that were put into place to keep them safe.
This lack of adequate communications is a consequence not anticipated by tech companies, which can hinder the work of emergency services. Without companies being aware of it, there is a possibility that users in danger can be expecting help that will not arrive because the information has not been processed by emergency services.
The EENA has invited tech companies to reach out to start a conversation. Now we wait to see whether or not that happens.
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