NGA 911 and Texas A&M University Combine Efforts in NG911 Testing and Research

By Greg Tavarez August 24, 2023

Next Generation 911, or NG911, is an initiative aimed at modernizing the traditional emergency response system. Unlike the outdated 911 system that mainly handles voice calls, NG911 supports various forms of communication, including texts, images and videos, which can give emergency operators a better understanding of situations.

One of its key features is enhanced location accuracy through technologies like GPS and Wi-Fi, aiding faster and more precise response. The system is also designed for resilience, even during disasters and includes accessibility features for diverse communication needs. It also routes calls to the appropriate response agency and facilitates real-time coordination between responders and command centers.

As with everything technology-related, though, continuous upkeep and testing is needed to make sure NG911 remains consistent and reliable. Therefore, Texas A&M University and NGA 911, a provider of IP-based real-time communications software solutions, are in a partnership to advance research and testing in support of NG911, public safety broadband and defense applications while offering mutual benefits to both parties.

NGA is dedicated to delivering a high level of redundancy, resiliency and availability to the 911 community, ensuring accurate and high-performance transmission of voice, text and media in emergency telecommunications. The organization's solutions are constructed with a focal point on transitioning from legacy systems to NG911, with a priority placed on addressing the needs of call-takers and PSAPs. 

In terms of the partnership, the NGA Care Enterprise software support, valued at $1,250,000 annually, will be donated each year for the duration of this five-year agreement. This donation allows the university to utilize the license as in-kind contributions toward other grants, subject to the mutual agreement of NGA and TAMU.

With the products, TAMU will conduct testing and research in support of federally and state-funded exercises and research initiatives. Through the testing, the university aims to identify and address interoperability challenges, validate standards compliance and enhance the overall effectiveness of NG911 systems.

"Interoperability standards will facilitate the rollout of Next Generation 911 as agencies seek to collaborate emergency response across jurisdictions,” said Don Ferguson, CEO of NGA. “The research and testing done by Texas A&M University will ensure that technologies are interoperable, reliable, and capable of delivering prompt and efficient emergency services to communities."

The insights uncovered and the suggestions offered are of great value to vendors, service providers and regulatory entities engaged in the creation and deployment of NG911 solutions.

"These extensive interoperability tests will contribute to industry-wide efforts to improve emergency communication infrastructure and capabilities,” said Dr. Walt Magnussen, director of Texas A&M's Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center.

Edited by Alex Passett
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