Great question raised by ABC News on why can’t we contact 911 using texting (except for Black Hawk County, Iowa–population 130,000!).
I would extend on the question and suggest that we be able to contact 911 by any number of ubiquitous technologies whether texting, instant messaging, email, or even potentially social media sites (e.g. 911 on Facebook).
Frankly, if someone is in trouble, they shouldn’t have to get to a phone anymore, but rather they should simply be able to contact emergency services from wherever and whatever they are doing as long as they are connected–whether by desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, help should be just a message away.
Moreover, by capturing photos, videos, and voice, we can send a more multi-media, data-rich stream of information to 911, enabling them to better assess and respond to the situation.
We owe it to both those in need of help and those emergency service providers to link them through more types of communications services and more information-rich media.
I believe that the excuse that people will make more mistakes texting doesn’t ring true in an information economy where Americans send 5 1/2 billion text messages a day.
In fact, a mistaken text is better than no text!
The key is to evolve our capabilities and not stay static in 50 year old technology, just because.