July 1, 2012
Boosting Indoor 9-1-1 Location Accuracy
Today’s Smartphone users expect a complete and robust experience that includes excellent voice reception, the ability to email, text, download applications, watch streaming video and use LBS (location based services) anywhere at any time. They also take comfort in the knowledge that first responder support is just a 911 call away that in the event of an emergency. In reality, however, that may not be the case at all. While it may seem contradictory, the proliferation of wireless devices may actually diminish the ability of 911 operators and first responders to accurately locate cell phone callers in buildings.
Historically, wireless carriers focused on optimizing outdoor reception. Today, however, the vast majority of voice and data use occurs in buildings. Consider that approximately 70 percent of all 911 calls – or about 202,000 every day - are made from wireless phones, according to the FCC. This is particularly significant given that more than 68 percent of all wireless calls are made indoors, yet just over 70 percent of in-building space does not receive sufficient GPS information to accurately locate 911 calls. As a result, there has been an almost universal call to increase cell phone reception indoors.
Pilot beacons transmitters, including those produced by Cellular Specialties, Inc. for example, attach to existing DAS systems and can improve location accuracy by as much as 2900 percent. Essentially, the beacons provide additional points of reference which enable the network to better determine the specific location of a handset or mobile device. By properly locating pilot beacons, mobile devices quickly and reliably receive fixed location references that allow the network to determine a handset or mobile device’s specific location. The position information can then be used to aid the GPS receiver in acquiring signals, if they are present, or it can be used directly as a position report until more accurate information becomes available. The pilot beacon system can then provide location information to emergency personnel (within FCC mandated Phase II parameters), ensuring a timely response.
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Learn more about E911 and LBS Enhancement Solutions and the CSI Co-Pilot Beacon