BlueLight, the safety toolkit for the digital age, launched its 911 service on the Apple Watch. Now Apple Watch users can download BlueLight in the App Store, allowing them to contact emergency services and share their location with contacts in seconds.
BlueLight currently uses an IP-based system to address a serious problem that 911 still faces today: pinpointing the location of emergency calls. More than 70% of 911 calls come from mobile phones, but according to USA Today, 911 may have as low as a 10% chance of getting a fix on caller location ranges. Between the margin of error and the high possibility of routing the call to the wrong dispatcher, response times can be delayed by several minutes, at a deadly cost. A study conducted by the FCC estimates that improving location accuracy would save roughly 10,000 lives per year.
By routing the call to the correct dispatch center and, in hundreds of locations across the country, delivering the caller’s current location to the dispatcher automatically, BlueLight can cut down response times. The technology also provides for callers who, in a medical emergency, may not be able to speak their location to the dispatcher. Now, BlueLight for Apple Watch can close the response time gap even further by allowing the wearer to call for help in seconds, even when not within easy reach of a phone.
“We are excited to pioneer a new standard for bringing personal safety into the digital age,” said Preet Anand, CEO of BlueLight. “BlueLight advances the existing system by changing how calls are routed, providing more location accuracy, and improving access to emergency services. Now any person with an Apple Watch can use our service to contact 911 right from their wrist. This technology also opens up new possibilities for getting people better help faster. The Apple Watch’s HealthKit system, for example, could let us detect emergencies based on a user’s vitals. Calling for help has never been closer or easier, and now the door is open to make emergency response more personal than it’s ever been before.”
The Apple Watch opens up data points and information about the user that can be digitized and structured to advance and progress legacy systems and processes. For example, cell phones have information about a user’s location and identity, which is leveraged by apps such as Uber and Facebook. On the Apple Watch, a user’s vitals such as body temperature and heart rate can be used to monitor health.
“Our vision for BlueLight on Apple Watch is to use the data available to potentially save lives in a medical emergency,” said Anand. “Today, Facebook knows more about your location than dispatchers do in an emergency. That’s a big problem. We all pay between $0.50 to $4.00 a month towards 911 fees on our cell phone bill, yet the system’s technology is still not up to par. We envision a world where the Apple Watch can eventually take action for you in the case of a medical emergency, such as a stroke or seizure.”
BlueLight offers two primary features: Request Help for dialing emergency services, and On My Way for everyday location sharing when users are walking or driving. On My Way enables users to enter a destination and notifies select contacts in their network when they reach their destination safely. Users can also personalize the app by saving custom addresses, including apartment and floor numbers; if the user calls for help from a saved location, emergency dispatchers know exactly where to send responders.
While the service is available as a standalone app, BlueLight is also available as a larger scale system that routes emergency calls to the caller’s closest dispatchers. BlueLight is available at over 300 college campuses, select corporate campuses and ski resorts nationwide. The company is also piloting its service with several cities in the U.S.
BlueLight’s complete features include:
- Emergency calls placed through BlueLight are routed to the closest emergency dispatcher, whether it is campus safety, the city police department, or the state highway patrol.
- Whether you’re walking home at night or on a road trip, let your contacts know when you’re on the way and when you’ve arrived at a destination.
- Add up to 20 custom locations, including apartment and floor number, with BlueLight Places so that emergency responders can arrive quickly with the accuracy of a landline.
- In an emergency, notify selected contacts with a link to exact location.
- Install a widget on an Android or iOS smartphone so that help is only one tap away from the lock screen.
- Drop-down notification with specific location upon calling 911.
BlueLight offers a free 30-day trial subscription for new users.