Smartphones to video stream live footage to emergency services during emergency calls

iris scan 

Welcome to the blog site for 999 Eye, on this site we intend to keep you up to date of the project progression.

operator: “which service do you require”?

Caller: “Police, or Ambulance err all of them”

“Ok connecting you to Police”. 20 seconds . . . . . . Total call handling.

“Hello what’s the nature of the call”?

“There’s a fight, about 20 lads in the street going mental! My boyfriend’s hurt I need an ambulance, they have set fire to a house please hurry!”

Control Operator: “Ok slow down, we will be with as soon as we can, do you know where you are”???

Caller: Yes outside ## ####### ######< please hurry my boyfriends bleeding really badly, I think they are going to kill someone, there’s a really bad fire”

Control Operator: “ok we have got officers on the way to you, stay calm. I need to request an ambulance for you, can you tell me what the nature of his injuries are? And where is the fire?”

Caller: “he’s been stabbed, please help me, what do I do? Theres so much blood, please help me”

Control operator hears commotion in the back ground.

Ask yourself, what resources would you expect services to send?

2 minutes later, Police Fire and Ambulance first responders are now en route – to what????

This is the issue faced everyday by first responders, rushing to locations with limited information of what they are going to, and what they will face when they arrive.

The priority for them is to safely rush along the roads whilst also trying to imagine what they may need when they arrive, based on next to no information.

When they arrive minutes later they will either be relived it isn’t as bad as the limited description depicted, or alternatively thrown into a scene of utter chaos. Outnumbered by people needing them, under resourced, with limited information to act upon.

They have to quickly comprehend what they are looking at, scale the issues and gather information, then process it into manageable sections, prioritising life, property, environment.

People from the communities they serve look to them to sort out this mess, save life, protect property, remove risk and restore order.

Meanwhile on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, smartphone captured images and footage is bouncing around social media

On occasions people in other parts of the country or even the world know more than the emergency service en route.

It was with this in mind that West Midlands Fire Service began to look for solutions in 2013, solutions to enable callers to offer more information using smartphones.

The questions posed – if your loved one was in need of help wouldn’t you want the best possible life saving guidance? and best possible response from each service?

West Midlands Fire Service understand that in emergencies. seconds really do count.

Following wide research, development and testing, the Emergency Response team at West Midlands Fire Service are now developing software they call 999 eye.

They are hoping to pilot this software in 2014 and are looking for interested blue light response organisations to join them.

Essentially, the system will only be utilised as an enhancement to the 999 call, on occasions when emergency services sense value in seeing the incident from the callers perspective, and callers are willing to stream it to them.
Once the stream is running accurate mapping will identify your exact location and where possible imagery from the stream will be forwarded to responders en route.

Matt Wroughton from West Midlands Fire Service emergency response asks you to consider these questions;

If you were in a position to carry out life saving first aid on someone, wouldn’t you rather a medical expert at the end of the phone, being able to see what you need to do or that you are doing in order to guide you through it and give people the best chance of survival.

If you were reporting a fire, car crash or rescue, wouldn’t you rather the services sent a targeted response that will be up to the task in hand? The right resources the right place the first time.

If you saw those blue lights finally moving closer up the road to you, wouldn’t you rather the first responders on board had as much information as possible in order to speed up the decision making process and corrective actions once they step out of the vehicle?

If you were a responder wouldn’t you want as much digestible information and imagery as possible when responding to incidents?

If you are interested or concerned by this project, or wish to discuss it, please leave comments, share on SM and raise the discussion.




999 Eye at Blue Light Camp 14 and BAPCO 14






999 Eye at Blue light Camp 14 and BAPCO


3 thoughts on “Smartphones to video stream live footage to emergency services during emergency calls”

  1. Good idea, but what does it give you that a video call doesn’t? A video call doesn’t require you to install an app.

    1. Hi Phil, thanks for the comment 999eye won’t require an app and apps are restrictive as only limited numbers will download prior to ever calling 999 (we may get there in the future though).

      Most people don’t expect to have to call 999.

      This software will be a point to point connection (unlike mainstream video call systems) initiated by the services with permission from the caller, we have undertaken testing on the BT 999 system with the range of network providers, smartphones and platforms to identify the best solution.

      Services receive a lot of calls and many will not need the stream, however the ones that do – really do for the benefit of all involved.

      This system will work without cutting the call and offer accurate mapping.
      Emergency services co respond so the more compatible we all are the more effective we can be. West Mids Fire desire to share with other services for no or limited costs.

      The final phase of the system will involve a transfer of footage or images to responders and senior commanders en route. All one system.

      Thanks for reading and commenting please feel free to share this with other services or communities who may have concerns / interest etc

  2. I’ll second the suggestion to accept a standard 3g video call. This has two advantages:

    – Cuts out the time taken to send the web-link and set up video separately
    – Doesn’t need a smartphone to work. Many feature-phones can make 3g video calls.

    Obviously people need to know they can do this, so for those who make a voice call but do have a smartphone the proposed system is a good option too. Best would be to have both systems in place.

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