Life-saving emergency services enhancement rolled out with top firm’s aid

by Sol Dolor24 Nov 2018

A top-tier New Zealand law firm has helped roll out a potentially life-saving enhancement to New Zealand’s emergency services.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts advised the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in enhancing the Emergency Caller Location Information (ECLI) service. The MBIE has announced that all mobile calls placed to 111 are to automatically have verified locations.

Senior associate Peter Fernando advised on technology and commercial contracts that underpin the enhancements, as complex project required MBIE to engage multiple parties, MinterEllisonRuddWatts said.

“ECLI is a complex commercial environment involving an array of suppliers to deliver specialised services that requires an adaptive partnering approach to the contractual arrangements,” says Ben Quay, ECLI programme director.

“Peter is a critical part of the ECLI delivery team and working with him and the broader MinterEllisonRuddWatts team has been, and will continue to be, highly successful.”

Fernando said that in an emergency, having the exact location of a call makes a massive difference to the outcome.

“The technology allows for faster answers to calls for help, with emergency response teams better able to reach people needing help quickly. I’m incredibly proud to be part of the team improving connectivity for Kiwis and tourists needing help in an emergency,” he said.

The ECLI was introduced in May 2017, giving emergency services access to high-precision locations of callers even if they couldn’t give their location. However, the service was not available for all mobile phones, such as iOS, feature, and roaming phones. It was expanded to cover iOS phones in April.

The system has already helped verify the locations of 400,000 emergency calls in its first year. The new enhancements intend to cover all types of phones when the rollout is completed, which is expected to be in mid-2020. The system is then expected to verify locations of 780,000 emergency calls.

Peter Fernando