Today’s E911 network handles over 240 million calls per year. But its old architecture of routing callers depending on phone numbers gets outmoded the more that technology advances. And for this trouble the Next Generation 911 solution was developed.
However, NG-911 promises a resilient, flexible platform that will make it possible for public-safety answering points (PSAPs) to receive text, voice, video, and data information from emergency callers, but numerous challenges remain before such systems can be implemented and deployed throughout the United States of America.
The future of 9-1-1 NG911 offers huge benefits which include:
- Data sharing between public-safety answering points (PSAPs)
- Improved redundancy and reliability (virtual PSAPs)
- Improved response times
- Better service to citizenry, specifically the hearing-impaired
- True System Interoperability
- Greater visibility into emergency incidents: videos from public-safety systems, images and videos from citizenry, texts from and to citizenry
As with most technologies though, there will be challenges. Telecommunicators will be dealing with substantially more data and communicating with citizens and first responders in very new ways; so quite a lot of training and education will need to be put in motion as well as revamped policies, laws and regulations. But before we deal with these challenges we must face getting the system up and running, the huge challenge of integrating these technologies from an engineering and networking viewpoint.
Challenges and Costs
Even if regionalization helps to reduce the cost of upgrading 911 systems, some parts of new technology make modernization a challenge.
However, Next Generation 911 technology will certainly rely on an Internet Protocol-based system that will have to be protected from hacking. Also it will have to possess the ability to handle a wider range of technology than before, from rotary telephones to developing smart phone applications.
The changes needed to gratify NG911 also have related costs. Software and hardware updates to make the county’s system appropriate for others in the region will probably cost less than five hundred thousand dollars, while the texting service will probably cost the county two thousand four hundred dollars to four thousand dollars monthly.
Some other facts we learn about NG 9-1-1:
- We have seen there are good reasons to wait and prepare for the arrival of NG911, though; it is still in its infancy right now.
- By making a text to 911 will be the first thing integrated to 9-1-1 for the hearing impaired. It is up to NENA to embrace and adopt the protocol and figure out the next steps of bringing this standard into the communication centres.
- Video is the next thing coming down the road…not just texting but being able to take shot of incidents and send video live from an incident while occurring and getting it to 9-1-1 instantly. So if you observe a bank robbery the 911 center could be watching your video live while happening.
Since Next Generation is not ready to go live yet, there is an alternative for call-taking centres to take the first step forward by making use of geo-diverse technology. This alternative solution is an Internet-Protocol-based emergency response system that allows agencies to receive emergency calls and assist sends the fastest, most appropriate emergency responders while also lightening the brunt of the major project updates that will be coming in the future.
Some Telecommunications in Chicago completed the implementation of a huge 911 system with this exact same type of solution. The great thing about this project was that there were three systems at three different call-taking centers, so the agency acquired the ability to move these positions to one area at a later date. Whenever they do, they will be able to do so without losing any data or having any disruption in the service. The other two locations can close down, or a dispatcher can log out and leave that area and go over to the hub center, log in and pick up the calls from their area at the hub continuing as normal. This solution prepares them for Next Generation 911.