What “Auto Finder” Taught Me about Public Safety Communications

How much smarter is my phone than I am? That’s the question I had to ask myself after hearing about an app for Android phones that can automatically remember where your car is with zero configuration. It’s called Auto Finder. There’s no remembering to drop a pin on a map or even pressing a button. It senses that you are driving and then when you stop and get out of the car. I don’t always forget where I parked but it happens. Now my phone can cover for me. I don’t know whether to be frightened or amazed. I’m sure a bit of both is in order. As I wrote about in a previous blog, this app is an example of the type of innovation being spurred by the combination of mobility, advanced analytics, and geo-location. Our company, Corner Alliance, does a lot of work in public safety communications and in R&D in particular. That community is working right now to get access to reliable and affordable broadband services. Applications such as Auto Finder show how much the adoption of commercial broadband technology will change public safety communications.

Machines talking to other machines and automatically figuring out things for us is the future. We won’t be involved most of the time. The needed information will present itself and most actions will happen automatically. Patrick Tucker in his book, "The Naked Future: What Happens in a World that Anticipates Your Every Move,” paints a picture of what that future might look like. His CSPAN interview talks specifically about emergency response. In a sense these technologies will become so ubiquitous that we won’t even notice them and public safety response will change beyond recognition.