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Description taken from public sources. Read disclaimer.

From the University Website

M-Urgency is a public safety system that (1) redefines how emergency calls are made to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) like the 911 system and (2) is designed to be context-aware of the situation in which it is used. M-Urgency enables mobile users to stream live audio and video from their devices to local PSAP along with the audio stream, the real time location and the relevant context information, enabling appropriate and prompt service.

Deployed today on the University of Maryland”s campus  – a community of 43,000 people with its own PSAP – the M-Urgency system enables a caller to give the PSAP operator not only her ID and location but also an audio and a video stream from her phone that can be forwarded by the operator to the dispatched first responder.

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  1. hewayt says:
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

    I am not completely convinced how useful this application would be, other than to provide live video feed to a Communications Center of an emergency situation that is occurring. Although at face value it would appear to benefit students by providing them an app to get direct help from the University while on campus, it seems to also give a false sense of security in that if they step outside of the jurisdiction it isn’t going to work…..? I’m unclear as to how the app is designed to only work within a certain area, forcing students to dial 9-1-1 when off campus. In my opinion, dialing 9-1-1 should be the educational focus since that is the universal number to call for emergency assistance and not adding another option which could further confuse a situation.

  2. 911Geocacher says:
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

    This app seems to have potential to give the students some peace of mind while on campus. Sure it doesn’t prevent crime, but it does give the dispatchers/officers additional information that might be helpful for responders or investigative purposes. Although the video/audio feeds from the phone only activated while on the campus of the college, one nice thing is that if the emergency button is pressed outside the campus it tells the phone to make a normal 9-1-1 call which would then go to the PSAP which normally receives calls from the area in which they are calling from. I do like the fact that if your phone is connected to the campus wide Wi-Fi system that it can give the dispatcher the classroom or location that you are calling from, which might be a little more accurate than GPS if you are calling from indoors.

    One comment I read said that there may be concerns that people will put themselves in danger while doing their best to video an incident. This is certainly a concern; however I think that people are going to do what they are going to. I would imagine the dispatcher would recommend to the caller that he or she do whatever is necessary to maintain their own safety.

    Overall, if I was a student or faculty member on this campus I would download and install this app. As long as the app works as described, it could provide vital information to responders to better prepare them for what type of incident they are responding to.

  3. jongoldman@derrynh.org says:
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 7:37 PM | Permalink

    If I were a college student, I might be interested in this app if offered on my campus. However if someone is witnessing an emergency I am not sure they will take the time to load an app, they may dial 911 directly. I think in regards to NEXTGEN 911, which this is a pre-cursor to would be better off if the telecommunicators could activate the feature on peoples phones. That way we can use it when we need it at the push of a button. For instance, I voice call 911 to report a beating, or fight in progress and the 911 operator activates a feature on my phone allowing them to use my my camera for video, or audio. I believe people need to make a voice call to 911 prior to any nextgen features being employed. If my child went to the U of M I would encourage voice contact before using audio or video feeds.

  4. Cheryl says:
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

    The app is private, only available to students and employees of University of Maryland. The app can only be used if they are on campus. It’s not clear, it sounds like the app will function away from campus, which can be problematic for the caller and comm center dealing with emergency outside of their jurisdiction. Their directions say if they are away from campus they are advised to call 911. Their description says From their FAQ, it appears their dispatch center is not able to accept 911 calls directly in their center. The description in the app says if they use it they will connect directly with the UM Police Dispatch Center, not the PSaP that handles 911 calls in the area. It sounds like they might be discouraging the use of 911 on their campus. I’m assuming the app calls a phone number that dials their center directly. When a caller uses the app, their location is delivered as well. The app doesn’t list how that direction is determined. In addition using the app you are providing a live video feed to the dispatch center. I don’t believe the app FAQ explains how the comm center is receiving the live video. Their license agreement does mention that users can also add other personnel information including health issues, and that information will be transmitted to the comm center.

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