Verizon announced that it is partnering with TeleCommunication Systems Inc., of Annapolis, MD., to introduce an emergency text-to-911 service for its customers. The system is specifically designed for use by people with a hearing impairment that normally have a difficult time contacting public-service answering points, or PSAPs.
The service could potentially help those that can’t talk during situations like bank robberies and hostage takings.
The company is working on plans to make the new capabilities available to select PSAPs by early 2013. Verizon plans to use its existing CDMA SMS network for 911 text notifications. The new service will be offered to Verizon Wireless customers who have a text-capable phone and a service plan that includes text messaging.
“TeleCommunication Systems has worked closely with the FCC over the past two years to develop its innovative technology for SMS to 911,” said Maurice B. Tosé, president and CEO of TCS. “As the preeminent U.S. supplier of SMS and pioneer in wireless E911, TCS is well positioned to enable Verizon in advancing its public safety commitment.”
Verizon is working with others in the communications industry, PSAPs, the Federal Communications Commission and other federal and state agencies in the eventual deployment of this new service aimed at giving consumers new ways to communicate with designated public safety agencies.
(hat tip: Gizmodo)