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Category: Safety Services


Category: Safety Services

West Corporation

Posted on June 10, 2015 by West Corporation 


“Help man with gun in house” – 6 Years of Text-to-9-1-1

Last night, as I reflected on the day, I was reminded that six years ago – June 9, 2009, Black Hawk County, Iowa received the first successful test of a text-to-9-1-1 message in the country, supported by Intrado’s initial TXT29-1-1® service. I wanted to stop for a moment to recognize this important anniversary.At the time, the simple text of “help man with gun in house” was considered a breakthrough for the speech and hearing-impaired community. Today, a text-to-9-1-1 message is the best alternative to a voice 9-1-1 call in emergency situations.

Over 500 PSAPS enabled with Text Capabilities

Intrado has helped enable over 500 PSAPs with text capabilities, and wireless carriers provide text-to-9-1-1 support where available.

There are still challenges ahead, including improving funding to upgrade current 9-1-1 systems and increasing the public’s awareness about this capability in their jurisdictions.

Still, milestones like these remind me what a privilege it is to be part of a community that works collaboratively to leverage every available technology in the interest of public safety.

Remember, calling 9-1-1 is always best. Call if you can, text if you can’t.

 

West Corporation

Posted on May 26, 2015 by West Corporation 


State of the Industry: Wi-Fi Device and UC Adoption Alters E9-1-1 Strategies

With more and more devices connecting over Wi-Fi, enterprises need to be able to rely on proven strategies

As wireless desk phones proliferate and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) revolution continues to pick up steam, enterprises are discovering that an E9-1-1 strategy for Unified Communications adoption must now include a strategy for devices connecting over Wi-Fi. This State-of-the-Industry post describes the challenges of wireless Unified Communications (UC) for E9-1-1 for voice planners and provides an introduction to future installments of our special Enterprise Wireless UC E9-1-1 Strategy Guide series that includes a webinar.

Read More >

West Corporation

Posted on May 12, 2015 by West Corporation 


New Advancements in Wireless Location Accuracy

PSAPs have good reason to be concerned about wireless indoor location accuracy. We believe a physical address – not just an X/Y coordinate – is the gold standard for public safety. In addition, our research shows that current solutions like reverse geo-coding provide an incorrect address in approximately 15% of all 9-1-1 calls.

New advancements in Wireless Location Accuracy provide cost-effective strategies utilizing available technologies that can help carriers provide a dispatchable address to PSAPs.

Residential Femtocells
Some carriers now deploy femtocells nationwide; passing the physical address of the subscriber with coverage of 150 meters. When their “personal cell site” is installed, the residential subscriber provides a dispatchable location. GPS data in the femotcell–in real time–provides geo-validation of the address and can detect femtocell movement. This dispatchable location and the X/Y location of the femtocell or handset is delivered to the PSAP and displayed on the call taker’s console without any changes.

Enterprise Femtocells
Enterprise femtocells often cover definable indoor spaces such as offices and public structures. They are installed by a carrier or the enterprise and can provide a level of accuracy comparable to wireline with a dispatchable address. Devices with GPS can be used to reliably validate the address.

Geo-Relevant Wireless ALI
Using existing technology, geo-relevant wireless ALI provides a dispatchable location associated with the emergency caller. The ALI address data is collected from multiple sources including a user-provided address, public records databases and, potentially, a billing address.

For example, if a caller provides their home address, and the X/Y location shows the call is originating near the residence, it’s very likely that the call is being made from within the residence. In this example, the absence of any GPS coordinates would make it even more likely that a call is originating from inside the residence.

Even an associated address nearby (of a relative or a previously provided address) has extreme value to PSAPs as it provides them with a starting point of investigation. Initial testing indicates that 15-30% of all wireless 9-1-1 calls using this solution can deliver a dispatchable location.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacons and WiFi
BLE and WiFi radios exist in most new smartphones, so this is a low cost solution and ideal for residential applications. Dedicated 9-1-1 beacons can provide highly accurate and manageable dispatchable locations. An attractive feature of this option is that BLE beacon or WiFi addresses can be stored in the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD) and passed to the PSAP at the time of the call.

Handset Assisted Indoor Location – Location Fusion 
We are excited about a development in wireless 9-1-1 that would be forward-compatible with any new smart device enhancements. Intrado is now testing the ability of smartphones to sense satellite signals along with nearby WiFi access points and BLE beacon locations to narrow the location for callers using enabled devices. This solution blends location technologies (such as commercial location detection used by retail stores) in a secure, always-on mode. Implementation of this technology could potentially support VoIP, Voice over Wireless LAN, VoLTE, and CDMA/UMTS voice.

There isn’t currently a single, standalone technology that meets all of the requirements of the new FCC rules. The future of location accuracy depends on the convergence of a several technologies working in tandem to deliver a physical address.

To learn more about the FCC’s ruling and the technologies outlined here, view our recent Wireless Location Accuracy webinar here.

West Corporation

Posted on April 29, 2015 by West Corporation 


10 Things You Need to Know about the FCC Wireless Location Accuracy Ruling

Earlier this month, I spoke at a webinar, Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Forward: Advancements in Wireless Location Accuracy. If you missed the live broadcast, we discussed the FCC’s new Fourth Report and Order concerning wireless E9-1-1 location accuracy, and provided an overview of current and emerging solutions to help carriers comply with the new regulations in a cost-effective way. Here are 10 things you should know about the new regulations:

    1. The ruling introduces the concept of “dispatchable location” as the gold standard for public safety while also setting forth improved horizontal location requirements.
      • 40% of all wireless 9-1-1 calls within 2 years
      • 50% of all wireless 9-1-1 calls within 3 years
      • 70% of all wireless 9-1-1 calls within 5 years
      • 80% of all wireless 9-1-1 calls within 6 years
    2. Non-nationwide carriers receive extensions to the 5-year and 6-year deadlines mentioned above (by 6 months and 1 year, respectively) based upon the timing of VoLTE deployment in their networks.
    3. Within 3 years, all carriers must deliver uncompensated barometric pressure data (for calls originating from capable devices).
    4. Carriers must develop a Z-axis solution within 6 years. Both uncompensated barometric pressure data and Z-axis data are somewhat controversial given that an altitude coordinate without a fixed starting point (such as sea level) may not be of practical use for most PSAPs. Non-nationwide carriers have an additional year to meet these requirements.
    5. Performance of location accuracy will be measured based on live 9-1-1 call data.
    6. Carriers serving any portion of a test city (San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver/Front Range, Philadelphia, and Manhattan Borough) have 18 months, after March 2015, to report aggregate data of the location technology used.
    7. The ruling establishes the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD), a centralized database for wireless carriers.
    8. Carriers are required to provide a location within 30 seconds, as well as meet a confidence level of 90% for E9-1-1 calls.
    9. These new FCC requirements do not replace existing Phase II mandates concerning outdoor calls.

The positive news for carriers is that it is possible to provide a dispatchable location in a cost-effective way.

In Wireless Location Accuracy Blog – Part 2, we’ll take a closer look at WiFi, Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons, small cells and other promising technologies that we think will help wireless carriers precisely locate their indoor wireless subscribers in an emergency.

For more detail on the FCC requirements and the technologies that support location accuracy, click here to view the recorded webinar.

West Corporation

Posted on April 15, 2015 by West Corporation 


You’re on First! Professionals Behind the Headset

Celebrating National Public Safety Telecommunicators week reminds us of the thousands of people who dedicate their lives to being there for those who are in need. Citizens naturally recognize the face of the first responder as their hero. Very rarely do they know that the professionals behind the headset are truly the FIRST, first responders – the 9-1-1 crisis response team!

This blog is dedicated to the moms, dads, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, and grandparents who decided that their calling in life was to answer emergency calls and ensure that proper response is sent to panicked 9-1-1 callers.

Your days are never dull. And they’re never stress free. Whether you’re answering an irritated citizen calling about a blocked driveway or someone home alone at night with the sound of breaking glass in the background, YOU are the crisis response team. YOU are the reassuring voice, the calm hand, the swift multi-tasker who can juggle the pleas of a frantic caller while guiding responders en route to the scene. YOU are the 9-1-1 crisis response team.

You’re the individual that stays awake when you should be sleeping, wondering if questions asked just a bit differently would have changed a tragic outcome. You’re the one that reassures a scared home-alone child that help is on the way. You’re the one who can magically deliver a “snake man” to remove a pesky visitor. YOU are the 9-1-1 crisis response team.

You can call the child of an elderly parent to let them know “things are a little out of sorts”. You know when “frequent callers” aren’t calling and need to know why. You live on fast food and stress and always get by somehow. You’re there when others are leaving work to go home. YOU are the 9-1-1 crisis response team.

You are my hero! I know you will be there should an emergency cross my path. YOU are the 9-1-1 crisis response team.

For all the sleepless nights, for the stress you endure and for all of those missed meals, I say THANK YOU for choosing to help. Thank YOU for dedicating your life to be the 9-1-1 crisis response team!

West Corporation

Posted on April 8, 2015 by West Corporation 


It’s a Tool, Not an Invasion!

Data is important. Reliable data is key!After many years of service in the alarm monitoring industry, I understand the prevalent concern about subscriber data accuracy. There seems to be some confusion about why there are data problems. In my opinion, it’s simply a matter of misunderstanding.

Unfortunately, many people have had negative experiences with telemarketers, compromised identity issues or other privacy concerns. When alarm companies’ customer service or sales agents ask for required information, subscribers may not understand that the data is necessary and stored in their monitoring account to actually help their alarm company keep the SAFE in the event of an emergency.

The lack of accurate, actionable contact data may compromise the ability of the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to respond to a subscriber’s alarm activation. Here are some things for alarm companies to think about when processing subscriber data:

  • The subscriber’s mailing address may be different from the address that the AHJ uses to find them; subscriber addresses should be validated against what is known as the master street address guide (MSAG).
  • The subscriber may have recently moved into a new property and may not provide an accurate address to the alarm company.
  • Subscribers, or their legal representatives, may neglect to inform the alarm company when the phone number for their monitored location is changed.
  • Company acquisitions pose an additional problem with location and contact data; subscribers may not understand HOW to update their information with the new alarm company.
  • In certain circumstances, the subscriber’s address may change due to municipal realignment or renaming, annexation, incorporation, etc.

New technology that can help alarm companies understand and provide “AHJ-valid” address or location of subscribers is now available. “Bad” addresses are identified while an account is still new – before an alarm is activated. Additionally, the systems identify jurisdictions of police, fire, medical and PERS AHJs, supplying alarm companies with accurate subscriber location data in spite of information they may have received otherwise. In turn, this accurate data identifies the customer’s location for the AHJ, enables the alarm company to contact them and improves the probability that the AHJ will respond to their alarm activation.

True security is built upon a foundation of reliable data. 

Mary Jo Lakhal is Sr. Program Manager at Intrado, specializing in emergency response concerns for the alarm industry.

West Corporation

Posted on April 2, 2015 by West Corporation 


New FCC Rules on Wireless 9-1-1 Location Accuracy: Now What?

Today, over 70% of 9-1-1 calls are made from a wireless device; it stands to reason that a very large percentage, if not the majority, of those calls are made from indoor locations. The FCC has witnessed this steady evolution in wireless calling behavior and recently introduced new standards that require CMRS providers to improve the location they provide to public safety for 9-1-1 calls.

The FCC’s landmark Fourth Report and Order which outlines new wireless E911 location accuracy requirements establishes an aggressive timeline for carriers to improve location accuracy and deliver a dispatchable location for 9-1-1 callers. Several solutions are in development to help carriers meet these new requirements – solutions designed to deliver a dispatchable location for virtually every wireless 9-1-1 call. These services utilize techniques and technology that just a few short years ago were not available or were too early in their development to deliver locations accurate enough for public safety use.

A combination of data sources and technologies can significantly improve indoor location accuracy and identify the caller’s address for wireless 9-1-1 calls. Together these services will enhance emergency responder dispatch accuracy and reduce the time required to serve those in need. The technology is available to improve location accuracy for indoor callers but it will take collaboration and partnership across the industry to meet the FCC’s new indoor location standards. Together, we can redefine wireless 9-1-1 location accuracy and save lives.

If you are a CMRS provider and would like to learn more about what we are doing to improve 9-1-1 caller location accuracy, I encourage you to participate in our upcoming webinar on April 7, Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Forward: Advancements in Wireless Location Accuracy.

The webinar will address new location accuracy standards and what is being required of all CMRS providers. We will also discuss specific timelines and milestones of the FCCs Fourth Report and Order, as well as current efforts to help CRMS providers identify and deliver on the requirements for dispatchable location.

West Corporation

Posted on March 23, 2015 by West Corporation 


Get your Cisco Emergency Responder up and running with 911 Enable

Complex configurations, data integrity challenges and compliance issues are top-of-mind concerns for enterprises looking at E9-1-1 call routing solutions to use with their Cisco Emergency Responder (ER). However, by taking advantage of an E9-1-1 call routing solution that is natively integrated with Cisco Emergency Responder, you can sidestep many of these common challenges and benefit from:

  • Streamlined administration
  • Automatic data synchronization
  • Tier one, nationwide call routing support, whether users are on-campus or off
  • Full lifecycle support from the E9-1-1 experts

To learn how to deploy Cisco ER the easy way, visit www.911enable.com/pages/implementing_cer/

West Corporation

Posted on December 8, 2014 by West Corporation 


New Consensus Plan on Location Accuracy: A Big Step in the Right Direction

On November 14, 2014, the four largest U.S. wireless carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon) and two key industry groups (APCO, and NENA) announced they reached consensus on a plan to improve wireless location accuracy for both outdoor and indoor environments that they will present to the FCC.

This is big step in the right direction!

The consensus plan proposes:

  • 1 Year: Create a technology test bed.
  • 2 Years: Obtain location fix using heightened location accuracy technologies for 40% of wireless 9-1-1 calls that provide a dispatchable location or x,y within 50 meters.
  • 3 Years: Obtain location fix using heightened location accuracy technologies for 50% of wireless 9-1-1 calls that provide a dispatchable location or x,y within 50 meters.
  • 5 Years: Obtain location fix using heightened location accuracy technologies for 75% of VoLTE wireless 9-1-1 calls that provide a dispatchable location or x,y within 50 meters.
  • 6 Years: Obtain location fix using heightened location accuracy technologies for 80% of VoLTE wireless 9-1-1 calls that provide a dispatchable location or x,y within 50 meters.

To put this in context, consider that earlier this year the FCC put forth a Notice of Public Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing increased location accuracy standards and urged that industry participants bring forth their expertise to collaborate in the industry-wide discussion. From the onset, the initial proposed standards were viewed by many industry stakeholders as being too aggressive to achieve in the given timelines.

The consensus plan, while being more conservative in terms of the percentage of location fixes than the FCC’s NPRM, spotlights “dispatchable location”. This is a very important detail because public safety does not dispatch to an x,y coordinate. They need to dispatch to a location and this plan emphasizes that very critical point. The plan also states the utilization of multiple location technologies including Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth®. We couldn’t agree more that to solve the very difficult problem of accurately finding a 9-1-1 caller in an indoor environment (and providing a dispatchable location) will require leveraging several existing and emerging technologies.

We applaud the carriers, APCO and NENA for coming forward with a plan that sets a stake in the ground for an aggressive but realistic future location accuracy goal. Having a well defined goal and evaluation criteria creates an open and competitive environment that encourages many vendors to develop and test solutions that can help the carriers meet their goals and provide better location accuracy to public safety.

We look forward to continuing to partner with our carrier customers to help them meet the goals put forth in the consensus plan.

West Corporation

Posted on October 27, 2014 by West Corporation 


Ensuring Foolproof E9-1-1 When Making Network Changes

Network changes that compromise E9-1-1 often serve as a catalyst for action, spurring organizations to search for a new E9-1-1 solution. As organizations convert their legacy voice solution to VoIP or upgrade their Unified Communications system to a new version, they often discover that their old E9-1-1 solution does not make the transition seamlessly, putting them in conflict with their own E9-1-1 standards and/or the E9-1-1 requirements legislated by the state. Read More >


West Corporation

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