The day has (finally) come! On January 29, 2015 the FCC adopted measures that will provide a solution to accurately identify location of wireless 911 callers when the caller is indoors. The FCC is requiring carriers to provide more accurate indoor location information by 2018. The carriers will be required to provide location accuracy in the horizontal location (i.e., address) and vertical location (i.e., floor level). This is what Kris Kolodziej of IndoorLBS and other advocates have been proposing since 2006! (see here)
Remember 1996? This is when FCC ordered the wireless carriers to be able to locate a 911 mobile caller within 150m (which is not accurate enough to find a person inside a building or to know which city block they are on!). Wireless carriers had to spend billions of $$$ on location positioning infrastructure (i.e., A-GPS). Recall this has propelled the Location-Based Services consumer app industry with apps like VZ GPS Navigator, AT&T Navigator, Family Locator, and others that generated over $1B of revenue for the wireless carriers.
In a similar fashion, we can imagine this Indoor E911 regulation will propel the indoor location-based services industry that consists of WiFi and BLE beacon (iBeacon) solutions. Imagine your Nest thermostat acting as a Beacon and transmitting the location info (address, floor level) to your smartphone..
The US wireless carriers were strongly opposed to this new "Indoor E911" regulation. For example, Sprint said the standards were “not achievable using current technology.” AT&T said the changes would “waste scarce resources." On the other hand, the CTIA and its member companies applaud and thank the FCC for recognizing a roadmap that presents a historic opportunity to deliver on the promise of 9-1-1 indoor location. CTIA stated, "as Americans continue to increasingly rely on mobile devices as their primary communications device for their connected lives, today's action by the FCC will help save lives. While the requirements in today's Order are aggressive, we remain fully committed to delivering on the Roadmap's promise of greatly enhanced location information."
Time to get to work and start saving lives!