It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the smartphone will inherit the crown as the central voice and data client platform for unified communications. Given that smartphones are highly mobile and can be used on a variety of networks (cellular, Wi-Fi, etc.), IT and telecom managers need to account for the fact that many people within their enterprise will be dialing 911 from a smartphone.
Smartphones bring E911 squarely into the realm of location-based services because of the inherent location determination capability of the smartphone itself. Most smartphones have a GPS chip that can determine the geo-location of the phone, and the chip is leveraged to provide location-based services to the user.
Here are three scenarios that must be factored into your enterprise E911 plan:
If a smart phone is on the cellular network and used to dial 911, the call is going to be routed by the cellular provider to an emergency call center based upon either the location of the cell tower that the phone is connected to or a triangulated location based on multiple cell towers.
If a smartphone is on a corporate Wi-Fi network and connected to the enterprise voice platform, its location can be tracked in real time as it moves throughout the Wi-Fi network. If the smartphone is used to dial 911, the voice platform can send the call to a routing service in the cloud that routes the emergency call based on the actual location of the caller.
If a smartphone is on an external Wi-Fi network, a 911 call can still be sent through the enterprise voice platform to your E911 service in the cloud for routing to the 911 center that services the location of the caller. But, the smartphone must be running a voice client that connects it to the enterprise voice platform.
A new breed of applications running on the smartphone can capture the GPS or triangulated Wi-Fi coordinates of a smartphone when it is used to dial 911. This location data can be sent to campus police to notify them of a 911 call in -progress and deliver a Google (News - Alert) map of the location of the caller.
In addition to speeding local emergency response, these applications also enable the personalization of E911, giving users the ability to choose who they want to be automatically notified in the event of a 911 call. It won’t be long before next-generation 911 networks are in place to accept video streamed from the camera on the smartphone when a 911 call is made, allowing emergency providers to see as well as hear emergencies as they unfold.
Nick Maier is senior vice president of RedSky Technologies.
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi