Category: Wireless


Category: Wireless
West Corporation

Posted on October 19, 2017 by West Corporation 


6 Questions for VoWiFi 911 User Set-Up and Provisioning

By: Marcus Andronici, Principal Sales Engineer

If you’re a telecommunications service provider (TSP) planning to offer WiFi calling, it’s never too early to start thinking about your support for 911. I always encourage our customers to prepare well in advance to help mitigate delays and frustration down the road.

Read More >

West Corporation

Posted on October 9, 2017 by West Corporation 


4 Key Features of a VoWiFi 911 Solution

By: Marcus Andronici, Principal Sales Engineer

Handset technology has evolved to the point that WiFi calling can often be a seamless experience for your users (on WiFi-enabled devices). For competitive carriers, VoWiFi is a means to:

  • Move calls off your networks to alleviate data/network demands.
  • Deliver differentiated services to your subscribers and reduce subscriber churn.
  • Provide coverage when and where wireless calls aren’t possible i.e., indoor environments where coverage can be limited.
  • Expand your carrier footprint while reducing roaming costs, thus eliminating the need to put additional roaming agreements in place.

Read More >

West Corporation

Posted on June 15, 2017 by West Corporation 


Behind the Scenes at West’s Emergency Call Relay Center (ECRC)

By: Tricia McConnell, Sr. Marketing Communications Manager

On a Friday afternoon in the Emergency Call Relay Center (ECRC) at West, call volume is steady but manageable. A vehicle collides with a bus, which triggers a 9-1-1 call from the car’s telematics system. A registered nurse from a 24-hour hotline reports a caller complaining of chest pains and nausea. The ECRC call takers identify the location and nature of these emergencies then conduct warm transfers by contacting the appropriate public safety answering point (PSAP) and confirming that the dispatcher and caller can communicate before dropping off.

The mood in the room back in October 2012 was significantly more intense. Then, as Hurricane Sandy surged up the east coast, PSAPs in impacted areas struggled to manage the overwhelming 9-1-1 call volume. The ECRC staff and other West employees worked extended shifts and through scheduled days off to help PSAPs respond to incoming 9-1-1 calls.

Read More >

West Corporation

Posted on June 10, 2015 by West Corporation 


“Help Man With Gun In House.” 6 Years of Text-to-911

Today I was reminded that six years ago on June 9, 2009, Black Hawk County, Iowa received the first successful test of a 911 text message in the country, supported by our TXT29-1-1® service. 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-911 message is the best alternative to a voice 9-1-1 call in emergency situations.

Over 500 PSAPS enabled with Text Capabilities

West has helped enable over 500 PSAPs with text capabilities, and wireless carriers provide 911 text support where available.

There are still challenges ahead, including improving funding to upgrade current 911 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.

Calling 911 is always best, but if you can’t, send a text.

 

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

utility-side-menu