By Jerry Wilke Director, Customer Team, West Safety Services
On March 15, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) initiated the rulemaking process to review vertical location accuracy requirements for wireless carriers. In the FCC’s Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Fourth FNPRM), the Commission stated that the vertical location metric will “more accurately identify the floor level for most 911 calls, reduce emergency response times, and save lives.”
Unless you’ve been in a digital detox for most of 2018, you may have noticed an increase in industry buzz around wireless 911 location technology, particularly in recent weeks.
When an emergency strikes, you pick up the phone and call 911. A helpful call taker confirms your address, gets the details of the emergency, and help arrives within minutes. Sounds simple, right?
If you’re dialing 911 from your office, a hotel or a remotely connected softphone, that simple interaction may actually be a pretty complex transaction. It requires multiple systems to integrate and communicate to get you the help you need. West supports the journey of a 911 call from start to finish. Read on to find out what happens behind the scenes and learn about the technologies that enable enterprise 911.
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Most people don’t dial 9-1-1 and then hang up. Most people don’t realize that a 9-1-1 abandoned call taxes already limited emergency response and communications resources. Most of the time, when someone dials 9-1-1 for help, it is the worst moment of their life and they need immediate emergency assistance.
Mary Boyd, VP of Government and Regulatory Affairs
The first 911 call placed on February 16, 1968 marked a turning point for our country. More importantly, however, the 911 ecosystem that we take for granted would not be possible without the contributions of an extraordinary group of men and woman who have dedicated their careers to saving lives.
By John Snapp, VP of Technology
Earlier this month, I presented to carriers and PSAPs about new solutions that promise a better location earlier in the 9-1-1 call flow. I also spoke about the methodology and results from West’s location testing and trials with Google’s Android-based ELS (handset-initiated location).
The following addresses the questions I wasn’t able to respond to during the live event.
Q: We received many similar questions around the timing and availability of the wireless 9-1-1 location technologies discussed. Many asked, when will these solutions be made available? How soon will PSAPs start to benefit from the improved location? What are the potential implementation impacts to carriers and PSAPs?
When we talk to enterprises about 911, we often hear about the E911 obstacles they face to making sure they can provide appropriate support to their users in a crisis. From roadblocks around awareness, to cost concerns, to management burden, the top three obstacles to enterprise 911 arise again and again in our conversations. Fortunately, enterprises can overcome these obstacles.
E911 Obstacle 1: Not Knowing that E911 is Broken
Perhaps the first obstacle enterprises face when it comes to 911, is knowing that they have a problem to begin with. When embarking on a transition to Unified Communications (UC), or implementing softphones, or adding another UC system to the mix, there are literally thousands of factors your IT team is considering. It’s easy to lose 911 in the shuffle.