This article originally appeared in the Sept. 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
If you’re somewhat familiar with enhanced 911 (E911), you may well know that public safety answering points (PSAPs) are the dispatch centers that receive 911 calls and send help to callers in need of emergency assistance from police, fire or paramedics.
For a subset of large enterprise organizations, the PSAP isn’t something “out there” but rather a function within the enterprise that must be managed. Many large colleges and universities, manufacturing facilities, hospitals and military bases answer all 911 calls dialed from phones on their network without sending them to municipal, county or regional PSAPs. The reasons for this strategic decision vary but range from the organization’s ability to deliver faster emergency response to the security requirements of locations such as military bases.
Organizations that own the PSAP function are facing critical business decisions as they look to implement Next-Generation 911 (NG911) and adopt the standards-based SIP network for handling voice, data, text and video emergency communications traffic. For these organizations, selecting a vendor that can implement an end-to-end NG911 solution has distinct advantages.
An end-to-end NG911 solution tracks phone locations inside and outside the enterprise, updates the private ALI databases that store location information for these endpoints, routes 911 calls to the PSAP and provides the call handling technology required to receive and process the call. For NG911 to work properly, all components must work together flawlessly.
Absent an end-to-end solution, today’s environment of specialization requires enterprise telecom managers to rely on each component vendor’s assurance that their piece will work as part of the whole. ACDs, recording systems, CTI (News - Alert), all introduce some level of risk.
When drafting the requirements for your 9-1-1 environment, consider this: While NENA’s i3 standards have been defined to help ensure interoperability between vendors, no level of risk is truly acceptable.
An end-to-end NG911 solution eliminates the risk of dealing with multiple vendors while reducing costs and increasing control over your 911 and E911 initiatives.
Read more about E911 on TMCNet’s E911 Channel.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi