Ehud Barak's new app.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A first-of-its-kind cellphone application allowing civilians to make video distress calls to emergency responders with the press of a button was launched in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
Israeli technological start-up Reporty Homeland Security, whose chairman is former prime minister Ehud Barak, launched the app in cooperation with Magen David Adom, security forces and local councils.
It will work in areas with low cellular coverage due to new technological breakthroughs, the company said. It will also allow for Internet chats with operators.
Currently, users will be able to transmit live video feeds from anywhere in the country to MDA and to municipal control centers in Ra’anana, Modi’in, Hod Hasharon, Hadera and Ashdod.
“Communications with additional centers, including police and firefighters, will be voicebased in the first [and current] stage, and will allow for immediate location identification, while the company is in talks with these organizations for a full embed,” Reporty stated.
According to figures released by the company, every year, emergency services receive millions of phone calls, out of which 20 to 30 percent are prank calls. The Israel Police receives an average of 10 million calls a year, out of which 20% are pranks and harassment calls, while 23% of MDA’s 9 million incoming calls are pranks.
In the US, more than 10,000 people die each year due to the inability of emergency services to find the location of callers in time, the company said, adding that the application will immediately track down the locations of its users.
“During this time of security challenges, in which terrorism and violence do not skip over any country in the world, and alongside the growing need of people to be connected all of the time, there is room for a comprehensive solution that allows people to feel safe and connected,” Barak told a press conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
In the future, he added, the application could be used for other purposes, including live video broadcasts for journalists.
MDA director Eli Bin said his organization’s cooperation with Reporty will “shorten the time of treating calls that come to the emergency centers, and will improve our ability to reach every point and incident as quickly as possible.”