FILE - Person dials 911

A person dials 911 on their cell phone.

When Carbyne founder and CEO Amir Elichai was mugged on a Tel Aviv beach four years ago, he called the police to report the incident but found that most emergency call centers couldn't locate a caller’s phone automatically.

“I began to wonder how it was possible that in an era where an Uber driver or pizza delivery person can find your exact location - why can’t 911?” Elichai wrote in an email to The Center Square.

Those who call 911 in Pennington County, Minnesota (more than 6,000 miles away) can live-stream their situation and location to emergency responders starting in late August.

Dispatchers will brief emergency responders on the situation.

Elichai's company developed a “Carbyne call” that allows users to send video and messages after SMS consent, and automatically shares callers’ locations.

Pennington County Sheriff Ray Kuznia told The Center Square that this technology will quicken response time because, if given consent, responders will know the caller’s location and situation automatically so they can prepare accordingly.

“It’s more effective for us because we’re a rural area,” he said. “We’re a small department. We have got places in our county that sometimes takes 35-40 minutes to get to.”

Kuznia cited examples in which the technology would help such as home intruders and rural accidents where the injured person doesn’t know their location.

Cell-phone triangulators often don’t give an exact location and have an error range from 3 to 10 kilometers, Elichai said.

“This would pinpoint that location, once he accepted, and we could get him medical help, quick,” Kuznia said. “This will increase response time by better knowledge: we need to know to send ambulances, wreckers, fire trucks.”

“That’s why this is so important to us in a rural area, even probably more important than a metro area. To get what we need during an emergency situation, depending on whatever it might be, and to give that person help, being able to get somebody there quick.”

In the United States alone, the Federal Communications Commission estimates that more than 10,000 lives a year are lost due to poor location services.

Elichai said they’ve seen a 65 percent reduction in time to dispatch in certain deployments, significantly driven by enhanced location and a 42 percent reduction in ambulance calls thanks to video.

Carbyne cited future applications of a baby monitor detecting change in breathing pattern, calling 911 with the location and problem.

“In seconds, AI in the 911 platform would assess the risk, and pull in any available medical info regarding the baby,” Elichai said. “And all of this would happen in seconds, before anyone in the house had woken up.”

Kuznia said he believes the video technology will help Pennington County dispatchers respond faster with better information, often a life-or-death matter in rural areas.

Kuznia said his office will be the first in Minnesota to implement the technology in August.

Pennington County will join about 15 U.S. locations -- including Fayette County, Ga.; Ocean County, N.J.; and Logan County, Va. -- that use similar technology.

The recorded video and audio from the new system will become public data under Minnesota law, like how audio from 911 calls is now public data, Kuznia said.

Phone video can't be shared without user permission and can end the session at any time, Elichai said.

Elichai said Carbyne emphasizes data security and privacy, meeting international compliance and data security certifications, as well as using military-grade protocols and modern encryption methods.

“This is all meant to better equip our county to get emergency help to that caller as quickly as we can get it there, and instead of taking 20-25 minutes out there to have the deputy call in a wrecker to flip over a car, our dispatch would know that immediately and would send wreckers with the deputy,” Kuznia said.

Staff Writer

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.