Employees are traveling across the nation to attend meetings and conferences. Businesses are adopting tele-working policies and corporations are allowing teams to meet and brainstorm off-site. However, what happens when one of your remote employees dials 911 from their soft client? Does your organization know where they are? Can you connect them to the help they need in a timely manner? Though the ability for users to work remotely can provide organizations with greater flexibility, connecting these workers to E911 can represent a challenge to an enterprise.
By Charles Van Hoose, Sr. GIS Analyst at West
LEAD THE WAY
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is front & center in the march toward a fully-realized i3-based Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) environment. No longer considered a secondary, reactionary tool for Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), GIS is Identified as a key foundational element in the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) i3 specification.
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By Charles Van Hoose, Sr. GIS Analyst at West
The importance of mission critical Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data for call- and dispatch- mapping in the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) cannot be overemphasized. Accurate data combined with tactical mapping is critical for locating incidents, callers and devices, for dispatching appropriate resources, and for communicating situational awareness to first responders.
If you’ve been tasked with choosing an E911 solution for your enterprise, it can be tempting to set up an on-site notification alert and have emergency responders receive the location details they need once they arrive on-site.
While this strategy seems to be able to keep your organization safe, make no mistake: implementing notification alerts on their own as an E911 solution can place your organization and your employees in grave danger. For E911, relaying an accurate, dispatchable address to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) is essential; this ensures that first responders arrive with the information they need to quickly locate and help the caller.
By Nicole Pianalto, Sr. Support Engineer, West, Safety Services
Have you noticed? A wave of downsizing is sweeping across the country in the form of the Tiny House. According to The Tiny Life website, the typical American home is around 2,600 square feet, whereas the typical small or tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet. Smaller houses are easier to clean and maintain; they require less land and allow more time for experiences. I like the idea that our culture may be headed in a direction that indicates experiences are more important than things.
By John Snapp VP of Technology for West, Safety Services
A significant goal was achieved in 2009 when a public safety answering point (PSAP) located in the basement of a county jail in Waterloo, Iowa, accepted the first ever text message to 9-1-1. The Blackhawk County center made history when they successfully received a simple message to send help.
Today, thanks to the voluntary commitment of the carriers to enable the support and routing of text-to-911 calls, PSAPs can prepare their centers to accept and respond to 9-1-1 text messages. Industry leaders have developed standards and hundreds of PSAPs have registered with the FCC to certify their readiness to accept text messages.
By David Peck, Sr. Account Executive, West, Safety Services
An integrated approach to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is essential to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). There are many benefits to be realized – geospatial routing, data sharing, precise address referencing and more.
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Last month, West’s Emergency Gateway (EGW), an on-site appliance that streamlines E911 management and tracks IP phones, received a Letter of Compliance for Avaya Aura Session Manager 7.0 and Avaya Aura Communication Manager 7.0.
911 is the most essential service your end users will ever require. As enterprises move towards adopting new technology platforms like Avaya Aura 7.0, there are obvious and important benefits behind those business decisions: increased communication and collaboration, better security, ease-of-administration and decreased total cost of ownership. At West, our job is to make sure our customers who are making IP-PBX purchases or upgrades don’t overlook 911.
West, a technology Partner in the Avaya DevConnect Program
West has been a Technology Partner in the Avaya DevConnect program since 2007. Our ongoing collaboration with Avaya helps us to deliver products and services that are designed and rigorously tested to seamlessly integrate with Avaya platforms, providing our customers with an enhanced level of confidence in our products’ interoperability and ease of deployment.
West is the link between the public and public safety, so it’s critical that our enterprise solutions are tightly synchronized with our customers’ current deployments while, at the same time, anticipating where the next technology shifts are occurring.
We’re extremely pleased to receive the Letter of Compliance from Avaya. West’s enterprise solutions are compatible with every major IP-PBX platform, which translates to millions of employees, student and end users who will be quickly routed to the nearest public safety agency when they need help—and thousands of Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and first responders will know exactly where to find them. We can’t imagine a time when we won’t need emergency assistance but, fortunately, we live in a world with technologies that can improve the outcomes of the first response.
The holiday season is officially under way. If you are like me, you are probably in a frenzy trying to complete your projects before year end and your weekends and evenings are booked with activities, holiday shopping, office parties, and friend and family get-together.
As the year draws to a close, I wanted to use this time to say thanks to our wonderful staff, customers, suppliers and you, our loyal readers. The closing of the year also represents a good time to reflect, count our blessings and take stock for tomorrow. Read More >
Last month we hosted a webinar, Building a Smarter Internet of Things, with Frost & Sullivan and our partner, Gemalto. Our panelists covered a lot of ground in 60 minutes, so I wanted to share some of the takeaways from our conversation around public safety.
Connected devices are all M2M but may not be part of the IoT.
A common misconception is that M2M and IoT are interchangeable terms, but in fact, they have very distinct meanings. M2M (Machine to Machine) describes devices and sensors that communicate with each other via any form of networking i.e., a cell phone connecting via Bluetooth to a car’s stereo.
IOT (Internet of Things) refers to the broad network of these devices communicating with each other, making decisions based on pre-determined thresholds and sending alerts to humans, allowing informed decision-making to create a safer world.
For instance, if a minor fender-bender causes traffic to come to a stop at an intersection, crash sensors in the vehicles can send data to first responders, helping them to prepare a response. Also, sensors in the road and traffic cameras can automatically send information to GPS satellites, re-routing traffic until the accident is cleared.
In the above scenario, each of these connections is a machine talking to a machine but the sensors are all connected to a larger network of objects, allowing them to be part of the Internet of Things and creating a much greater ability to communicate important information.
The infrastructure for a connected world is being built and implemented today.
The future of IoT involves communication on a massive scale. Networks, devices and sensors are slowing being connected to one another. The more the network grows, the more powerful a tool it will become to help create a safer world.
11 major cities across the US are currently developing or implementing a smart city infrastructure. Soon, data from healthcare, government, waste management, traffic cameras, first responders, utilities, railroads, etc. will be aggregated and analyzed to allow for faster, more informed decision making during emergency conditions.
As LTE networks are built out, rural areas are being integrated into the larger network, allowing authorities to track train shipments, truckloads of dangerous materials and improve emergency response times in remote locations. Of course, this infrastructure will take time to develop full potential, but the good news is that those efforts are well underway.
Data and information security are at the forefront of IoT design and infrastructure.
Standards associations, such as the GSMA, are already releasing IoT security guidelines to be built into IoT infrastructure. Collaboration between industry associations and vendor communities plays a huge role in the development of new IoT technologies and how they are secured.
Data security needs to be balanced against the value of the data. For instance, data such as the current weather conditions requires less protection than a patient’s health record data being pushed to an EMT’s tablet or other smart device. Recognizing the difference between these two scenarios and being able to have the hardware intelligently assess those distinctions will help create more secure methods of sending information without adding too much overhead.
Networks are being designed to handle increased traffic from M2M connections.
With the use of several different networks, including LTE, MTC, LTE Cat 0 and IoT (narrowband) LTE, traffic can now be spread out depending on the need and location. In addition, the technology already exists to prioritize the most relevant traffic through the network. For example, calls to 9-1-1 have priority in a cellular network over non-emergency calls. A similar protocol is being utilized for IoT signals to allow critical information to get to the appropriate responder.
Devices are also being designed to “behave themselves,” meaning they are built with a level of intelligence allowing them to send only relevant data. These thresholds can be programmed ahead of time with platforms like Emergency Aware Services (EAS), allowing for proper network utilization and to keep data traffic from becoming overwhelming.
Without question, these technology developments are going to revolutionize public safety over the next few years and, ultimately, protect and save lives. If you’d like to learn more about the IoT evolution, you can watch the entire webinar on demand here.
If you’d like to learn more about Emergency Aware Services from West, you can visit our website here.