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911 Access

Swiping right; improving app safety with emergency calling

Micaela Murphy Micaela Murphy
Micaela Murphy
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Much like dating apps, Bandwidth is known for connecting people all over the world; through messaging, voice calling, and 911/emergency calling.

When using mobile apps on their cell phone for things like dating, healthcare, or ride sharing, users (and some developers) may be overlooking how the apps can enhance safety. At Bandwidth, we think about these things all the time. Not only is communication for these apps a core piece of our business, many of our employees, friends, and family members use many of these apps—including me!

I was a dating app user (along with 26.6 million other people) which is ultimately how I met my fiancé Adam. He took me out for cheap tacos and the rest is history! Before working at Bandwidth I never thought much about the inner workings of software and apps, let alone emergency calling. (Spoiler alert: The technology behind emergency calling is a little more complicated than Brooklyn Nine-Nine makes it look!) My job has opened my eyes to all the ways that apps make our lives easier, more fun and connect us to new people. But it has also shown me how apps can make their users safer. My experience and finding my fiancé is a perfect example. 

After moving to Raleigh to work at Bandwidth, I gave up on the idea of bumping into a handsome stranger at the airport. I jumped into the digital world of millennial matchmaking along with millions of other romantic hopefuls. It was fun to chat with new people virtually and learn more about them. But then once you find a match and move to an in person date, nerves set in. There are the usual nerves like worrying about what to wear or deciding where to grab dinner. Then there are the unexpected worries like the anxiety that comes with meeting a stranger for the first time. Through our profiles, Adam and I realized we had some mutual friends, and that made me feel better about meeting up with him. 

Most users may not have the same connections to help ease those fears. Many users deal with challenging situations on dates that could be resolved by easier access to friends, app customer support–or emergency services. SaaS providers and app developers can create more positive experiences for their customers and help them feel safe when the need arises. Dating apps, ride sharing services, and connected healthcare devices are examples of businesses that could bring additional safety and value to their customers through embedded emergency calling services. 

Bandwidth can help SaaS/Apps companies to connect, protect, and provide safer experiences for their users by implementing Bandwidth’s emergency solutions. 

With Bandwidth, providers can connect users to an assigned friend, customer support, or directly to emergency services depending on the need. For example, a patient with diabetes could make a distress call through the press of a button in their insulin pump app that connects to a healthcare provider. The healthcare provider could initiate an emergency call and provide the location of the user’s device—something that wouldn’t happen with a typical wireless 911 call. Ride sharing companies or non emergency medical transportation (NEMT) could provide SOS capabilities for both their drivers and riders within their app. This functionality would save valuable time when it matters most. 

There are personal safety apps solely dedicated to location sharing, sending text messages, push notifications, and making voice calls to emergency contacts and emergency services. Thankfully we are seeing these kinds of functions expanding beyond dedicated safety apps. 

Many of the apps we use every day to request a ride share or monitor our homes are starting to recognize the need for this extra level of security and now include in-app emergency or “SOS” features to provide an extra level of protection. Luckily, my first date with Adam went really well and ended up being my last first date. Not all dating app meet-ups have fairytale endings. No matter what the app—dating, ride sharing, or connected healthcare devices—users deserve to have protection and peace of mind wherever they are. After all, wearing your heart on your sleeve is scary enough!

Emergency Calling API

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