New Zealand emergency callers to get help faster: minister

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-21 17:57:33|Editor: xuxin
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WELLINGTON, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Emergency calls made from all mobile phones in New Zealand will soon have their locations verified, enabling a faster response in an emergency, a government official said on Wednesday.

Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi said that enhancements to the Emergency Caller Location Information (ECLI) service will improve this potentially life-saving technology.

"Being able to quickly verify callers' locations means emergency services can be dispatched more quickly and reach those who need help sooner, which can make a huge difference to the outcome of an emergency situation," Faafoi said.

The ECLI service was introduced to New Zealand in May 2017, offering high-precision location information for smartphones running Google's Android system, which makes up approximately 70 percent of the New Zealand market, an]d lower-precision location information for most other mobile devices.

The high-precision location solution was extended to mobile phones running Apple's iOS operating system in April 2018, he said.

"We will be extending the ECLI service to all other mobile phone calls to 111, and increasing the number of calls supported by high-precision location," Faafoi said, adding this includes calls made from basic non-internet-capable phones and by international visitors using their phone roaming on a New Zealand network.

These changes are rolling out now, and by mid-2020, location to within 50 meters will be verified for 95 percent of all 111 calls from smartphones. Lower-precision location is also being enhanced and will be available for the remaining five percent of smart phones and other mobile phones, in most cases between 50 meters and 2,000 meters, according to the minister.

In its first year, ECLI was used to help verify locations of nearly 400,000 emergency calls. When these enhancements are complete, that number is expected to jump to 780,000, he added.