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Bandwidth 9-1-1 Improves Location Tracking for Mobile VoIP

March 30, 2017

By Alicia Young - Web Editor

Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish if certain advancements in technology are helping or hurting us. For example, back when the only way to call someone was by using a wireline phone, it was pretty easy for someone to determine where you were calling from—you were most likely home, at a friend’s, or in a phone booth. While this might not necessarily matter if you’re just calling a friend, it could mean the difference between life and death if you’re calling 911.

Being a mobile society certainly makes things easier for us as a whole, but 911 operators have been having a hard time with it. Gone are the days where someone would call from a landline in their kitchen, making it clear that the person who needed help was in that specific location. Now, with wireless and mobile VoIP options available, it can be difficult for operators to determine where exactly the person in need is. If it takes too long to figure that detail out, there can be major problems or even death as a result.

That’s why Bandwidth, a business-grade CPaaS company, announced today the release of its upgraded 9-1-1 Access services, which are designed to better serve the needs of the growing number of mobile VoIP users. The new 9-1-1 updates will enable responders to see a more tailored, extremely specific emergency location at the time of an emergency call.

Bandwidth COO Steve Leonard commented on the importance of and need for this service by saying, “As consumers become even more mobile, 9-1-1 becomes more complicated to administer…Tracking the location of a user gets difficult, and in an emergency situation, every minute is critical. We can now pinpoint location with incredible precision, down to a specific room and floor in a large building, the exact area in a busy downtown metro, or wherever help is needed.”

These enhancements to the 9-1-1 Access portfolio can be broken down into two areas: Dynamic Location Routing and Bandwidth Coordinate Routing. The first uses XML to deliver exact location information for mobile callers using VoIP solutions. It also allows businesses to add context to emergency calls by “attaching critical metadata to any location object provisioned in the Bandwidth 9-1-1 database,” according to the announcement. This can help responders find a specific conference room within a building or a certain floor in a parking garage. Bandwidth Dynamic Location Routing is built around PIDF-LO (Presence Information Data Format Location Object) and is compliant with NENA requirements for next generation 9-1-1.

Meanwhile, the second enhancement—Bandwidth Coordinate Routing—combines geospatial mapping capabilities with reverse geocoding to provide a real time translation of a caller’s address. This allows for improved accuracy and faster response times, which is never a bad thing. Previously, users would need to have pre-provisioned location information because, if not, their calls would be routed to a call center in another state or county. With this new upgrade, virtually any caller can be located quickly, with or without a pre-loaded address.

It goes without saying that these enhancements are going to be beneficial to mobile VoIP users. The type of phone you use should not determine how quickly emergency help can get to you. And now, thanks to Bandwidth, that will no longer be an issue. 

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