Wearable tech is at the forefront the next generation of personal communication devices, giving us access to the internet, social media channels and each other 24/7. It was inevitable that a telecommunications company would develop an algorithm to enhance our public safety too.
Enter the Apple iWatch’s capability to detect that you have fallen and you need help, connecting you with emergency services when you physically can’t. With Android’s Smart Devices monitoring your health and wellbeing too, Alexa and Siri have their finger on your pulse, literally.
Attending a National Emergency Communications conference last week, I was introduced to a new challenge emergency services need to consider – when do we trust the technology?
There are plenty of examples of where a smart watch has inaccurately determined the wearer needs assistance and calls emergency services. Communications Centre dispatchers are sifting through multiple hoax calls, not from surly bored teenagers but from wearable tech instead.
But it isn’t all bad. There are those stories where the technology has saved a life, has detected a problem and sent support as soon as possible.
For Incident Controllers and Commanders, it’s not simply a case of whether we think the technology is helpful and positive, we have to be adaptable and embrace the changes technology brings. How can we harness wearable devices to support our delivery of emergency support to people when they need it the most? What can we do differently that helps us sift through the hoax calls to get to the real emergency?
For me, I am interested in the information we can push out to wearable tech devices, rather than just the information we can gather. Imagine if we could send fire evacuation directions to people based on GPS locations determined by a smart watch? What if we knew how many people were stranded by flood water based on the pings from watches near a cell tower? What could we say to people when we have access to their visible wrists, not just a phone in their bag?
I’m interested in your thoughts on how technology is potentially changing the way we deliver public safety support to communities. Leave a comment below! 🙂