One of the services that has become so ingrained in our society in the US is 911, the emergency service that is just 3 digits away from landline and mobile phones. Mobile phones also have the added benefit of GPS location services allowing 911 services in many parts of the country to tell where the caller is located, something that is of great benefit in emergencies like automobile accidents. The emergency service industry is getting ready for Next Generation 911 that allows the use of text messages and phone video as part of the 911 call. This will bring current technology into play in these critical emergency situations, and my own city of Houston is in discussions to come of age in this area.
The ability to use phone video as a part of 911 calls may seem to be unnecessary but officials point out that it can provide the emergency dispatcher with much-needed information to make a quick decision on who to dispatch to the scene. Imagine you are driving and come across a bad traffic accident with injuries. With Next Generation 911 you can shoot video of the scene with your mobile phone camera and shoot that to the 911 operator. It would quickly make apparent the emergency agencies that needed to be dispatched, thus saving critical time. I can see this making a tremendous difference in the response time for such tragedies.
(via Houston Chronicle)