SIP and E911... It''s About Time

E911 Watch

SIP and E911... It''s About Time

By TMCnet Special Guest
Nick Maier, Senior Vice President of RedSky Technologies
  |  February 01, 2011

Two recent announcements from voice platform vendors prove the industry is getting serious about addressing the E911 issue for SIP endpoints.

The first announcement from Microsoft (News - Alert) was a blockbuster. With the launch of the new Microsoft Lync Unified Communications platform, SIP endpoints can request and hold their location within the enterprise network as an object and, when a user dials 911, the location object is sent with the call to emergency dispatchers. This is the first commercial implementation of the National Emergency Number Association’s i3 standard, which calls for endpoints to know their location so that it can be sent with the voice call in the event of a 911 emergency. Pretty cool.

The second announcement came from Avaya (News - Alert) with the launch of its Avaya Aura Session Manager Release 6.1. With Session Manager 6.1, a SIP endpoint registers with Session Manager, and the IP and MAC address of the endpoint are sent to a third-party application that can query the network to find the exact location of the phone. The third-party software then writes instructions back to the call server that tells it how to route a 911 call. Session Manager 6.1 brings Avaya SIP endpoint capabilities in line with those Avaya H.323 endpoints now enjoy.

These two announcements testify to the importance enterprises place on E911 capabilities. Enterprise customers expect robust E911 capabilities for all endpoints including SIP phones. In fact, many of these customers pushed back on voice platform providers that launched SIP endpoints without E911, essentially saying: “We can't move forward with SIP until E911 is automated as part of the solution.”

Thankfully, the platform providers seem to have gotten the message. 

Nick Maier is senior vice president of RedSky Technologies

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Edited by Stefania Viscusi