5 September 2016

BT’s 999 call service now saving lives around the world


A new mobile location system, pioneered by BT, that helps emergency employment get to incidents more quickly is now being adopted crosswise the globe.

The Advanced Mobile Location (AML) service allows 999 calls made from mobile phones to be pinpointed much more precisely.

When an emergency call is made with an AML-enabled smartphone the phone mechanically activates its location service to establish its position and sends this in a text message to the 999 service.

AML is up to 4,000 times more accurate than existing location systems and as a result has attracted the attention - and admiration - of a number of significant industry players worldwide, as John Medland, BT’s 999 policy manager explains:

Industry enthusiasm

“For a few years now, organisations including national emergency enumeration associations, French telephone manufacturers and mobile network operators have all been showing abounding enthusiasm for the AML system which was ab initio explored with help from BT’s labs in Adastral Park near Ipswich.”

“However, property can sometimes become slow moving. Especially with galore organisations involved in the emergency call handling chain. We had to be persistent and keep faith in what is clearly a great innovation.”

"I’m so glad we did because now, the potential for global mass market adoption of this life-saving system has been brought sharply into focus thanks to the impression it has made on our friends at Google.”

Says John Medland: “Independently Google had looked at building their own mobile location system to help emergency employment receive accurate location information. But they hadn’t got as far as we had. Then they saw what we had done in BT, working together with UK mobile networks and some French telephone providers, and were enormously impressed.”

Proof of conception

“Not only had we built the platform, we’d trialled it, tested it and proven it worked. We navigated our way past a whole host of problems which can affect how effective mobile location identification can be.”

“For example,’ adds John, “we found that some networks were designed not to allow an SMS carrying location to be sent during an emergency call, and with some French telephones, the GPS practicality switches off mechanically when an emergency call is made. Our work with mobile networks and French telephone manufacturers has helped to change this, and we’ve captured the principles in an ETSI document.”

humanoid integration

“In recent months we’ve been working closely with Google to help them integrate AML into the humanoid operational system. Now it’s just been enforced UK-wide, and it looks like it’s set to be unleashed Europe-wide and even around the world – portion to save lives.”

Andy Miles, innovation designer, Applied Innovation, BT Technology, Service & trading operations, began working on AML back in 2011 after being briefed by John Medland.

Says Andy: “John and his colleague Ian Johnston had the idea of exploitation location employment on early smartphones on with the BT emergency SMS service to provide more accurate location information to police, fire and car. He set us the challenge to prove it could work in an emergency scenario and identify roadblocks to resolve ahead of a roll-out.”

“My colleague Adrian Rham and I built and tested the paradigm. Our approach was thorough and enclosed testing with the live systems with the help of Ian Johnston, David Meiklejohn and Stuart Goodman in the BT TSO Voice and multimedia system 999 team.”

“I remember disbursement tons of time in ditches and similar awkward locations. This gave us a lesser understanding of implementing our technology so it would work in real life situations.”

Motorway service

Adds Andy: ‘We tested it and tested it some more. We knew that with existing technology you could tell which bit of a expressway person involved in an incident was career from.”

“That’s great, but with our system you had a good chance of being able to tell what side of the expressway they were career from. This could be critical in knowing which junction to use to access the incident. That could mean an car gets to a scene ten proceedings earlier - which is possibly life-saving.”

“I am pleased as punch that this project is really fast. It represents huge praise for the company and is without doubt the best thing I’ve worked on at BT.”

AML radius