We’re getting a lot of very good, telling information over the last two weeks about what kinds of organizations are migrating toward IP-based communications systems in this down economy, and what kinds of technology are driving the adoption of those systems.
On the one hand, researchers tell us, while the market for IP lines for the PBX (News
) market declined
for the first time ever in the first quarter of this year – and the carrier IP telephony market contracted
24 percent year-over-year for the same period – some sectors of the VoIP market are holding their own and even thriving.
Importantly, analysts say, business VoIP services (especially those that rely on SIP trunking) are the rise.
That is good news for much of the telecom industry.
As more and more business turn to IP-based systems for voice communications – and, with the rise of UC, communications in general – the critical issue of enhanced 911, or “E911” increasingly comes to the forefront. E911 uses location-based technology to pinpoint the whereabouts of distressed callers, often saving critical time for emergency responders.
Industry insiders tell us this week that the overwhelming majority of E911 deployments – whether it’s for businesses, large and small, or organizations such as hospitals and universities – come when those groups are undergoing a larger communications overhaul, such as the kind of VoIP migrations that analysts say are increasing.
According to the chief operating officer of one Anapolis, Md.-based company that specializes in extracting real-time business information from network activity, that’s because it’s during an overhaul engineers have the most holistic view of the telephony network. Why? Because that’s when they gain a clear understanding of where ports terminate.
“This information is required for an E911 deployment and much easier to assemble when constructing a VoIP network,” Shiblie Shiblie of eTelemetry
told TMCnet in an interview. “
The company’s major offering for E911 deployments is called “Locate911,” a plug-and-play appliance that integrates with Nortel, Avaya (News
), and other service providers for reduced risk and greater E911 compliance.
Right now, an Everett, Wash.-based E911 hosted solutions provider, 911 ETC
, is using that appliance (part of eTelemetry’s (News
) so-called Locate911 Emergency Notification System, or “LENS”) for an E911 deployment at a community college in Queens, N.Y.
Interestingly, Queensborough Community College (part of the CUNY system) – whose sprawling campus serves 13,000 students enrolled in Associate degree or certificate programs at Queensborough Community College, and another 10,000 continuing ed enrollees – has a non-VoIP network.
In this case, the system alerts internal personnel of an emergency call and provides accurate location information via a Windows-based Alert Agent and e-mail and/or text-message, alerting multiple devices. 911 ETC is designing, managing and implementing the whole project.
Mike Anderson, 911 ETC’s national sales manager, told TMCnet that the Queensborough deployment is about 75 percent done.
The hosted E911 solutions provider is seeing more and more higher education facilities turn to E911, Anderson said.
“With a TDM or traditional analog or digital phone, no one was really able to tell if the phone was moved, whereas in an IP environment you can look at the network, detect changes and update the location information automatically,” Anderson said. “It takes a lot of pressure off of the customer.”
And for organizations with more than one floor or building, Shiblie told us, Locate911 (News
)-N provides valuable location information, including the building and room number from where the 911 call was placed.
“This information is essential for E911 regulatory compliance and improves emergency response time,” he said. “Additionally, VoIP phones are designed to be easily moved, which can result in inaccurate network documentation – impeding emergency response and increasing an organization’s liability. Locate911-N improves accuracy and eliminates manual entry by automatically tracking VoIP phones on the network and alerting when a phone moves.”
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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan