This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.
We are witnessing a major transition of enterprise and consumer applications moving to the cloud.
Gartner (News - Alert) recently issued a report that, among other things, suggested that the "personal cloud" will replace personal computers within two years, and that a lot of workers may not need a PC.
IDC (News - Alert) predicts that cloud computing spending will grow four times faster than the overall IT industry, hitting $36 billion in 2012. The firm anticipates an increase in cloud applications, cloud service enablement, cloud systems management software, and mergers and acquisitions.
This transformation is rapid and breathtaking. Consistent with this trend, the cloud has fundamentally changed the way 911 calls are processed. Before the cloud, 911 calls were processed at the local level using local trunks and local databases. These emergency calls could only be sent locally.
Now, the cloud can deliver a 911 call to any of the more than 6,000 public safety answering points in the U.S. in milliseconds. And, at the same time, the cloud can deliver a detailed location record to the emergency responder at the PSAP making that 911 call an enhanced 911 or E911 call. With this capability, the cloud can increasingly support highly mobile workers who are connected to the enterprise. Workers can be virtually anywhere and, if they need 911, their call is routed to the responders nearest to them.
Next-generation 911 also is aligned closely with the cloud. If we think of the cloud as a vast IP network, next-gen 911 will be able to support 911 calls with voice, text, and video streams. At its core, next-gen 911 is an intelligent cloud network that uses location data (GPS, embedded location objects, existing location databases) to route emergency calls to emergency responders. Voice, text and video media streams can be merged and multiple PSAPs plus local, state and federal authorities can receive the streams.
The cloud will deliver more information and more data to emergency responders than ever before. Emergency responders will be better prepared, knowing in advance important details about the situation they are about to confront. This is the promise of the cloud.
Nick Maier is senior vice president of RedSky (News - Alert) Technologies (www.redskyE911.com).
Edited by Stefania Viscusi