Verizon: Mobile Users Could Help Authorities Investigate Emergencies

Mobile subscribers could not only receive emergency notifications when nearby crimes are in progress, they could be dispatched to assist authorities by capturing video, images and location information from events, Verizon states in a recent patent application.

The invention, “Method And Apparatus For Providing Event Investigation Through Witness Devices,” would give smartphone and tablet users an opportunity to respond to emergencies ranging from acts of terror to kidnappings.

“Traditionally, the investigation of an event requires documentation and/or eyewitnesses to prove the event … This approach consumes a lot of the local authorities’ time and, in some cases, information is missed, lost, or is not reliable by the time the authorities obtain the information,” Verizon states in the patent application. “There is a need for an approach to effectively and efficiently collect emergency event information, as the emergency event happens or immediately after the emergency event happened.”

Pankaj Jain is named as inventor on the patent application, which was published on Nov. 12.

Abstract: An approach is provided for corroborating with the investigation of an emergency event. An event processor receives an event data corresponding to an event from a mobile device, and the location of the mobile device is determined. Participating device(s) within the vicinity of the emergency event, as defined by the location of the mobile device, are selected and provided with the option to submit information regarding the event to a database used by authorities.

Related: Verizon ‘Anti-Bullying Service’ Would Monitor Calls, Texts, Movements

Patent Application

Claims

1. A method comprising: receiving notification of an event to initiate an information collection procedure to obtain information related to the event; determining location information associated with the event; identifying one or more computing devices within proximity of the event based on the location information; determining whether the identified one or more computing devices are participating devices; and generating a message to instruct one or more of the participating devices to collect information related to the event.

2. The method according to claim 1, further comprising: transmitting the message to the one or more of the participating devices to collect the information; and receiving the information for analysis of the event.

3. The method according to claim 2, wherein the information includes only metadata that includes location data, timing data, or a combination thereof.

4. The method according to claim 1, wherein the information is submitted anonymously to mask identity of the one or more participating devices or of user accounts associated with the one or more participating devices.

5. The method according to claim 1, further comprising: selecting the one or more participating devices according to one or more selection criteria, wherein only the selected participating devices are instructed to collect the information related to the event.

6. The method according to claim 1, further comprising: communicating with a public safety answering point (PSAP) to receive the notification.

7. The method according to claim 1, further comprising: specifying a collection time interval for the collection of the information from the participating devices; and selectively notifying the participating devices that no more information will be accepted after the collection time interval lapses.

8. The method according to claim 1, wherein the one or more computing devices include a mobile phone, a tablet, a laptop, a set-top box, or a combination thereof, and the information includes text, messaging data, sound recording, an image, a video, or a combination thereof.

9. The method according to claim 1, wherein the one or more computing devices submit the information via a local application or a web interface, and the transmitted message includes a custom link for the web interface.

10. A method comprising: registering a computing device with a service that assists with investigation of an event; and presenting, via a graphical user interface (GUI) executed by a computing device, a notification message of an event within a predetermined vicinity of the computing device, wherein the GUI includes, a first area for displaying of the notification message, a second area for inputting approval to participate in a service to assist with investigation of the event, and a third area for submitting information collected by the computing device, wherein the information is relevant to the event.

11. The method according to claim 10, further comprising: transmitting the information for analysis of the event to a system configured to provide the service.

12. The method according to claim 11, wherein the information includes only metadata that includes location data, timing data, or a combination thereof.

13. The method according to claim 10, wherein the GUI further includes, a fourth area to specify that the information is to be submitted anonymously to mask identity of the computing device or of user account associated with the computing device.

14. The method according to claim 10, wherein the information includes text, messaging data, an image, a video, or a combination thereof.

15. An apparatus comprising a processor configured to: receive notification of an event to initiate an information collection procedure to obtain information related to the event; determine location information associated with the event; identify one or more computing devices within proximity of the event based on the location information; determine whether the identified one or more computing devices are participating devices; and generate a message to instruct one or more of the participating devices to collect information related to the event.

16. The apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the apparatus is further configured to: transmit the message to the one or more of the participating devices to collect the information; and receive the information for analysis of the event.

17. The apparatus according to claim 16, wherein the information includes only metadata that includes location data, timing data, or a combination thereof.

18. The apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the information is submitted anonymously to mask identity of the one or more participating devices or of user accounts associated with the one or more participating devices.

19. The apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the apparatus is further configured to: select the one or more participating devices according to one or more selection criteria, wherein only the selected participating devices are instructed to collect the information related to the event.

20. The apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the apparatus is further configured to: communicate with a public safety answering point (PSAP) to receive the notification.

21. The apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the apparatus is further configured to: specify a collection time interval for the collection of the information from the participating devices; and selectively notify the participating devices that no more information will be accepted after the collection time interval lapses.

22. The apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the one or more computing devices include a mobile phone, a tablet, a laptop, a set-top box, or a combination thereof, and the information includes text, messaging data, sound recording, an image, a video, or a combination thereof.

23. The apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the one or more computing devices submit the information via a local application or a web interface, and the transmitted message includes a custom link for the web interface.

24. An apparatus comprising a processor configured to: register a computing device with a service that assists with investigation of an event; and present, via a graphical user interface (GUI) executed by a computing device, a notification message of an event within a predetermined vicinity of the computing device, wherein the GUI includes, a first area for displaying of the notification message, a second area for inputting approval to participate in a service to assist with investigation of the event, and a third area for submitting information collected by the computing device, wherein the information is relevant to the event.

25. The apparatus according to claim 24, wherein the apparatus is further configured to: transmit the information for analysis of the event to a system configured to provide the service.

26. The apparatus according to claim 25, wherein the information includes only metadata that includes location data, timing data, or a combination thereof.

27. The apparatus according to claim 24, wherein the GUI further includes, a fourth area to specify that the information is to be submitted anonymously to mask identity of the computing device or of user account associated with the computing device.

28. The apparatus according to claim 24, wherein the information includes text, messaging data, an image, a video, or a combination thereof.