This article originally appeared in the Sept. 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
As the National Emergency Number Association continues to lead the way toward the replacement of our existing national emergency communications network with a new IP-based network called NG911, organizations that operate multi-line telephone systems are being advised to make sure the vendors they work with today to manage their E911 location information and route 911 calls are participating in the process and embracing the new next-generation standards.
NENA is particularly encouraging government organizations and their consultants to add questions related to participation in the Industry Collaboration Event, or ICE, process to any RFI (News - Alert) or RFP they develop. The recently completed ICE 2 event is the latest example of the process in action as 19 vendors, including RedSky, came together to participate in interoperability testing to ensure their products, developed with the new NG911 standards, actually work together as intended.
This testing is a critical part of the standards development process and offers the best way to ensure that E911 solutions purchased by enterprise, education and government organizations perform as advertised when implemented.
Beyond NENA’s recommendation, I always advise organizations in the process of making a decision on an enterprise E911 solution to ask their vendor for details on how their solution is designed to meet the emerging NG911 technical specification, commonly referred to as i3. Probe their understanding of these standards or face the risk of investing in a solution that might become obsolete or require expensive modifications when the new standards are implemented.
This same advice holds true for organizations that choose a provider offering E911 as a service via a cloud-based solution.
The next ICE event is scheduled to take place in the fourth quarter this year. Make sure your E911 vendors are participating.
Nick Maier is senior vice president of RedSky (News - Alert) Technologies (www.redskyE911.com ).
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi