Facts Behind Emergency SOS calls

Last year Government of India had announced that no mobile manufacturer can sell cell phones in India without a panic button and GPS from 1st of January 2017 and 2018 respectively. The panic button will be used for making emergency SOS calls in distress and GPS for tracking the location of a caller. In addition to that government has also decided to use a unified emergency no (112) like 911 in the US. Aimed basically for the women security this move from the government is really appreciated if implemented properly. We are not going to look what government is doing, instead, we will try to explain some tech facts about emergency SOS calls.

emergency sos calls

SOS History and Morse code

When the Titanic sank in 1912 it was the first naval disaster where wireless telegraphy and SOS played an important role in saving over 700 people lives by ships who picked up Titanic SOS signal over the radio. SOS was also the morse code equivalent of MAYDAY, an emergency word used internationally as a distress signal in voice message primarily used in aviation and in marines. Although SOS does not have any fix phrase but it is primarily referred to as Save Our Soul or Save Our Ship.

emergency sos calls

Morse Code representation of SOS

SOS is internationally recognized as a morse code distress signal. Some of you might not know what a morse code is. Morse code is named after an inventor of telegraph Samuel F.B Morse who developed an electrical telegraph system to transmit and receive a certain pattern of electrical pulses. He used a certain code for each of the 26 letters of the English alphabet to transmit as an electrical signal. He used dots and dash to represent a letter. For example, SOS is represented by three dots( forms the letter S) three dash( forms the letter O) and again three dots to make the word SOS. A dot is heard as a short beep and a dash is a bit longer beep than a dot. You can hear the SOS signal in morse code by clicking the play button.


Emergency SOS call setup

emergency sos calls

Similarly, the panic button on a cell phone will allow a user to make an emergency SOS call even if his sim is not activated. Yes! It makes sense. Your sim card has information stored in it which it uses while making a call for authentication and billing purposes only. While making an emergency call the network routes the call directly to the emergency bypassing all the authentication procedure. So even if your sim is not activated, you have the luxury of making emergency calls. You can also make an emergency call even if your operator does not have any signal reception but some other does. In that situation, your phone will automatically receive the signal from the other operator and you will get Emergency Calls Only.

Future is always Good

Apple’s new ios update 10.2 release brings for the first time in India the SOS panic button feature and the same is expected from the other manufacturer. With increase in the number of crimes against women and child abuses a panic button on a featured and a smartphone is need of the hour. There is going to be some challenges in implementing this service, like in Rs 2000-3000 ranged featured phone it is hard to expect to have both GPS and Panic button on it. In that case, it will be interesting to see how government and mobile phone manufacturer will find a solution for this as everyone is not capable of buying a smartphone in India.

From morse coded SOS signal to modern emergency calls all has one thing in common and that is to make human life easier. Wireless communication is evolving more rapidly than any other technology in this modern era. I wish I could live until the 22nd century to see how people will use wireless technology.

As we have seen, the wireless and the airplane have made the world so small and nations so dependent on each other that the only alternative to war is the United States of the World– John Boyd Orr.

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Audio Clip credit: Alexander

Featured Image credit: Steve Way.

Image credit: ITU Pictureswestmidlandspolice, Thomas Hawk.


A blogger who loves to write about things that add value to the readers. He is more of a solution provider rather than a typical content writer. You can contact him at admin@bpedia.co.in

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