The Weather Channel Airs Segment on LaaSer solving 911 problems
ATLANTA, Sept. 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — On a recent episode of AMHQ, The Weather Channel’s daily morning program, a feature story exposed the little-known yet critical problem with the nation’s 911 systems. Journalist Dave Malkoff teamed up with Jon Harmer, Chief Marketing Officer at LaaSer Critical Communications (http://laaser911.com/), to demonstrate that these systems fail at precisely locating callers who are using mobile phones. Harmer’s company has developed an innovative solution using technology already built into every phone, so it won’t require huge investments of time or money.
“We’re working with a major Android handset manufacturer to build this functionality into the next generation of mobile phones,” says Harmer. “Once we’ve shown the system works and saves lives, other manufacturers and operating system developers will have to follow suit. Our goal is to have this technology become an industry standard for every new phone starting as early as next year.”
Harmer and Malkoff traveled to the Chamblee, Georgia emergency call center and placed a test call to 911. Instead of connecting to a Chamblee dispatcher, they were connected to an operator in an entirely different service area. More importantly, that operator was unable to determine exactly from where the call originated. Repeating this experiment at a nearby airport produced a similar result – the operator’s location data was off by several miles.
The problem with today’s 911 systems is the technology was designed 20 years ago – before everyone carried a phone on his or her hip – and therefore can only deliver accurate location data for landline callers.
This outdated technology is more than an inconvenience – it puts lives at risk every day. The FCC estimates that 10,000 lives a year could be saved by improving emergency response time by just one minute. LaaSer’s technology leverages all of the tools built into modern cell phones (GPS, Bluetooth, accelerometer, etc.) to provide accurate and instantaneous location data to 911 dispatchers. Follow-up tests in Chamblee using LaaSer’s solution resulted in calls being routed to the appropriate call center. Dispatchers could also immediately see location data for these calls.
“Mobile phones already have this data,” says LaaSer CEO and Cofounder Fred White. “It’s why things like Uber and pizza delivery apps work so well. What we’ve done is bridge the gap between mobile phones and 911 systems. Being featured on The Weather Channel is a timely reminder that extreme weather events are often the cause of sudden emergencies – many of them happening when people are away from their homes. And it’s a way to spread not only awareness of this problem, but also our solution.”
The AMHQ hosts ask the obvious question: Why has 911 technology fallen so far behind? The short answer is that cell phone technology is constantly evolving, while the cellular network’s emergency routing was and still is largely designed for a world of less capable phones. Overhauling the nation’s cellular infrastructure is, as the major carriers have stated already, logistically and financially challenging. LaaSer offers a simpler, faster, better way.
About LaaSer Critical Communications, LLC
LaaSer Critical Communications, a Techstars company, is dedicated to solving the problems associated with calling 911 from mobile devices. LaaSer has created patented technology that pinpoints a 911 caller’s location, using any mobile device, efficiently routes them to the appropriate 911 call center, and provides the 911 operator with precise location information. LaaSer’s technology requires no upgrades on the part of 911 call centers or network operators.
Jon Harmer, CMO