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West Corporation

Posted on September 20, 2012 by West Corporation 


Waiting to be noticed – LTE for public safety

Perhaps you’ve been an early adopter of technology without even realizing it! Maybe you purchased a car with anti-lock brakes back in the ’90’s, not knowing that most cars didn’t have that life-saving feature yet. Or you might have used online banking without a clue that security teams were busy protecting your money behind the internet curtain. Did you rent an apartment in a new building, never noticing the advanced fire safety design not found in older buildings?The truth is, tremendous advancements in technology impact both personal and public safety in our day-to-day lives, often unbeknownst to us. But just wait! The 4G wireless network technology of Long Term Evolution (LTE) will improve our personal safety – and we won’t even notice!

LTE coverage from multiple network operators looks to be the norm for 2013. How does this affect the emergency communications industry? How will we participate in the next great innovation of life-saving technology – IP-enabled LTE devices?

A Quick Review of First Net

In February 2012, Congress passed the Middle Class Tax Relief Act and Jobs Creation Act. This legislation created a nationwide wireless network solely reserved for and designed to support public safety in the U.S. and LTE was selected as the radio technology to use. LTE is the best and most advanced way to harmonize a worldwide wireless IP Standard so that the communication capabilities of first responders are on par with cellular users who call 9-1-1. First Net is a resounding vote of confidence for LTE!

Over the next five years this special LTE network for first responders will take shape.

The Power of Regulated Technology

What happens when this technology is blended with emergency services’ regulatory requirements and the power to immediately or simultaneously broadcast personal situational awareness? Consumers have already shown a comfort level in using social media apps that keep friends and family aware of their personal safety. Block watches, university campuses and corporations are using social media as a means to broadcast real-time security information. IP-based 9-1-1 calls are not just the beginning and end of a request for assistance. With the broad availability of IP networks provided by LTE on a variety of portable and fixed devices, a 9-1-1 call can start a cascade of personal and private notifications to the caller’s circle of contacts.

The Value of LTE

Device choices and form factors unveiled for 2013 are growing and 4G networks across the U.S. are still expanding coverage. This is a critical factor in a new world of cellular phones, machine-to-machine communications, vehicle telemetry and fixed wireless home services planned for LTE networks.

Use of LTE in such a wide variety of devices is part of the reason this technology will serve as the next great advancement in personal and public safety. It’s the next anti-lock brake, the next secure online banking app, the next design for safer buildings entirely wrapped up in an LTE wireless network technology.

The value of wireless LTE communications for personal safety is growing exponentially. Beyond using LTE cell phones to call 9-1-1, the innovative world of IP communications comes right into our devices via the broad spectrum of personal and social networks, enabled in a mobile environment. Our society will reap the benefits of improved personal and public safety from Send to End.

West Corporation

Posted on by West Corporation 


911 Enable’s Michael Proctor to join E911 Panel at IT Expo West

911 Enable Senior Product Manager Michael Proctor will be taking part in a panel discussion with other industry figures about E911 for hosted multi-tenant VoIP and UCaaS at the upcoming IT Expo West conference.

As more and more enterprises make the strategic decision to move their communications networks to the cloud, hosted multi-tenant VoIP and UCaaS providers are having to deal with the challenge of providing E911 service to customer networks of increasing complexity. These customers expect the same E911 functionality that they would receive from an on-premises solution, while providers are struggling to keep costs low in today’s hyper competitive environment. Add on the additional requirements imposed by federal, state, and local E911 legislations plus the reality of mixed vendor environments, and E911 can seem like a daunting task. This panel will address the E911 issues faced by service providers, and the new and exciting solutions available on the market today.

If you’re attending IT Expo West in Austin, don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about E911 for service providers. The session, entitled E911 for Hosted IP-PBX Providers, takes place on Wednesday, October 3 at 2:30pm – to learn more, you can view the conference agenda here. We’ll also be exhibiting in Booth 626, so make sure to stop by and say hello.

West Corporation

Posted on September 13, 2012 by West Corporation 


IntelePeer and 911 Enable Team to Offer Nomadic E911 for Microsoft Lync Customers using CoreCloud

IntelePeerSIP trunking services like IntelePeer’s CoreCloud (TM) allow organizations using Microsoft Lync to take full advantage of Lync’s flexible and advanced communications capabilities. However, the mobility of users enabled by Lync with SIP trunking can be challenging when it comes to providing robust and reliable E911 service. That’s why IntelePeer has teamed with 911 Enable to add Nomadic E911 as part of its SIP Trunking offering, CoreCloud. Organizations that implement CoreCloud SIP trunking for their Microsoft Lync deployment can rest assured that their users have access to a proven nomadic E911 solution – 911 Enable’s Emergency Routing Service (ERS) – that delivers robust and reliable E911 capabilities to meet regulations and keep users safe.

When someone places an emergency call, 911 Enable and IntelePeer’s solutions work together to ensure the call and accurate caller-location information are delivered to the geographically-appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). This is especially important in environments where Lync users are highly mobile and take their devices with them wherever they go on the network.

Both IntelePeer’s CoreCloud SIP trunking service and 911 Enable’s Emergency Routing Service are qualified under the Microsoft Unified Communications Open Interoperability Program (UCOIP). To learn more about UCOIP, visit http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/lync/fp179863.

For more information on IntelePeer and 911 Enable, read IntelePeer’s press release here.

West Corporation

Posted on September 7, 2012 by West Corporation 


911 Enable Fall 2012 Tradeshows

The post-Labor Day tradeshow season is here already, and we’ve got a full schedule until November!

Tradeshows are a great forum to increase awareness about the many E911 issues organizations face and we often come back from the shows energized and inspired by our discussions with attendees on the show floor. We hope you’ll take the time to come see us if you’re attending any of the events below – make sure to bring your questions, feedback, and comments or just stop by and say hello!

  • ITEXPO West 2012
    Booth 626
    October 2-4, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Event Website
  • Society of Telecommunications Consultants Fall Conference
    October 9-12, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    Event Website
  • Cisco Collaboration Summit 2012
    October 15-17, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Lync U (aka Houston Lync Voice Summit)
    October 18, 2012
    The Woodlands, TX
  • BroadSoft Connections 2012
    October 21-24, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Event Website
  • ShoreTel Champion Partner Conference 2012
    November 7-9, 2012
    Orlando, FL
    Event Website
West Corporation

Posted on by West Corporation 


September 11, 2001: A Day of Contradictions

(Mr. Hinkle was representing NENA in Washington, DC on that day in the Hart Senate Building while attending the “9-1-1 Report Card to America” press conference.)

As another September 11 approaches, we still contemplate the destruction and senseless loss of so many lives. True to the human spirit, we continue to look for glimmers of meaning to help us find something positive in an otherwise horrific day.

There was something almost symbolic in the fact that this act of terrorism occurred on national 9-1-1 Emergency Number Day – a day that symbolizes a nation’s commitment to protecting people. Are there any two more contrasting events? One symbolizes people dedicated to destroying life; the other honors those who have dedicated their hearts to helping to save lives. Perhaps even more prophetic was that September 11, 2001 had been selected for a press conference held in Washington, DC  to celebrate National 9-1-1 Day and the publication of the first comprehensive report on the health of America’s
9-1-1 system.

I am struck by the contrasting symbolism of that day. That day was meant to be a testament to how we as a nation exemplify our commitment to human values through our on-going efforts to improve the availability and reliability of the 9-1-1 system – a system specifically designed for the sole purpose of helping people and saving lives. We felt a heavy blanket of sadness spread across the country that day as we realized this was not an accident. What is so truly American is that almost immediately we began hearing about the heroic actions of our first responders. We heard of the compassionate voices of our 9-1-1 call-takers receiving and processing thousands of emergency calls.

Like most Americans, I knew in an instant that our way of life would be forever altered. As a 9-1-1 center manager, I also felt the comfort and security of knowing that all across the country our 9-1-1 centers were standing by to answer our calls for help. Reflecting on that day, I also remember how proud I was of being part of this noble profession. I still think about the dedicated men and women, who at this very moment, are staffing our 9-1-1 centers all across America, poised and ready to serve our nation.

It is with this heightened sense of pride that I remember September 11, 2001 as a “Day of Contradictions”, celebrating how the American spirit triumphed over those that would seek to destroy our way of life.

West Corporation

Posted on August 31, 2012 by West Corporation 


Ready, set…no

Hurricane Isaac is a powerful validation of the public safety community’s focus on preparing viable plans for back-up operations in the event of natural disasters and broad national threats.What drives us to prepare for the worst? Quite simply, it is grounded in watching and helping agencies bring 9-1-1 services back up in the aftermath of September 11, Katrina and other catastrophic events. It became clear that there was a better way to ensure 9-1-1 emergency services were protected and continued to be provided, even in the midst of a devastating, unplanned event. A closer look showed that many of our public safety agencies in this country either don’t have a disaster recovery plan, or need to update their plan and re-think how they ensure operational continuity for 9-1-1.

Natural disasters are what generally come to mind when plotting a large-scale emergency response strategy. Most municipalities have developed emergency management plans to deal with riots, floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes and viral epidemics. In the midst of a crisis, no matter what form it takes, the citizens of our country expect their calls to be answered when they dial 9-1-1. Comprehensive operational-continuity planning must be a top priority for 9-1-1 decision makers today and all options need to be on the table. When lives are at stake, we cannot wait until after a crisis to say, “I hadn’t considered that.”

A Good Plan Gone Bad
In recent years, there is growing evidence of the need for more comprehensive operational-continuity planning and alternative means of delivering 9-1-1 services during a crisis. Many lessons have been learned from events such as September 11, Hurricane Katrina and the Joplin, Missouri tornado, all of which severely crippled the local emergency communications networks. In addition, agencies must plan for large public gatherings, including national sporting or political events, as well as the possibility of unforeseen operational issues caused by gas leaks, lightening strikes or flood damage. Even training exercises or the need for facility upgrades can impact PSAP operations.

For these scenarios, many PSAPs have developed back-up plans that would keep their emergency communications running in most situations, but these plans may have gaps that could render a good plan ineffective. Choosing the best form of back-up for 9-1-1 operations is a critical decision. It can be difficult to predict if an agency requires a full brick-and-mortar facility or a more robust and future-proof solution.

The Right Plan
Creating a foolproof 9-1-1 operational continuity plan would be much easier if a single strategy could be developed, tested and implemented for every crisis faced by emergency services jurisdictions throughout the country. The fact is that every PSAP is unique and no two disasters are the same. There are many options for maintaining 9-1-1 operational continuity, ranging from a detailed call-transfer plan to a brick-and-mortar back-up facility to a mobile emergency response program. Our goal is to help every agency in the country design a robust and foolproof 9-1-1 operational continuity plan so that they can all say,  “Ready, set …go!”

West Corporation

Posted on August 24, 2012 by West Corporation 


Text to 9-1-1: We can’t afford to wait!

We joke about “the old days” when people used tin cans and smoke signals to communicate. We tout how far we have come with technology. We’ve advanced through great technological challenges such as the move from rotary phones to digital, and from hard-wired handsets to wireless. With each challenge met, we pat ourselves on the back for keeping up with the times.  But have we?The reality is that there’s a group of people who haven’t been able to move forward with the rest of us when it comes to calling 9-1-1 in an emergency. Many have rid themselves of old TTYs (also known as TDDs – Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf) in favor of new wireless devices. Yet they are being held hostage to technology that first debuted in 1874 and equipment modified from a teletype machine in 1964 in order to communicate in text.

From 1968 when the first 9-1-1 call was made, and for over 30 years, most agencies did not even have a TTY to provide access for these citizens. It was not until 1990 when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law and the Department of Justice mandated all “telephone emergency communications, including 9-1-1, shall provide direct access to people who use TDDs” that we saw equal access with equipment added in the Comm center. Ironically, it seems we have taken one step forward and two steps back.

Deaf friends have told me stories. Richard thought he was having a heart attack and couldn’t text to 9-1-1 for help. He had to get his Deaf friend to drive him to the hospital! My girlfriend’s son injured his head and there was no way to summon help. As a mother I can only imagine the fear and frustration that she went through during those moments. I’ve heard of other situations, such as when Marlee Matlin had to rely on her 4-year-old daughter to interpret because she could not use her cell phone to text to 9-1-1.

With over 32 million individuals who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing and over 7.5 million individuals with speech disabilities who rely on TEXT for communications, one can only imagine how many more stories are out there. How many have not ended well because of current barriers?

The sad thing is that it doesn’t have to be this way. We DO have the technology and capability to do something NOW! The technology and solutions exist!  We can move forward in a safe, reliable, and expeditious manner.

Implementing text to 9-1-1 should not be an option. Let’s not allow our friends and family, who happen to be Deaf, be left in the lurch again! We can’t afford to wait! This is a matter of life and death.

After all… we’re here to help!

West Corporation

Posted on August 21, 2012 by West Corporation 


Accurate, Reliable E911 for Telematics At the Click of a Button

TelematicsWith the increasing prevalence of both vehicle and personal telematics devices,  Telematics Service Providers (TSPs) need an E911 solution for their subscribers now more than ever before. However, implementing E911 for telematics can be challenging given the centralized location of TSPs and the high mobility of their subscribers – but without a proper E911 solution in place, TSPs may not be able to provide their subscribers with the emergency assistance they need.

911 Enable helps TSPs meet the challenge of E911 with PSAP Link. PSAP Link is an easy-to-use service that allows Telematics agents to automatically transfer subscriber emergency calls and real-time location information to the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). By focusing on E911, it allows TSPs to leverage their existing call centers without requiring them to purchase unnecessary additional services. PSAP Link:

  • Delivers emergency calls to the correct PSAP anywhere across the US at the click of a button
  • Complies with NENA-recommended telematics E911 standards
  • Ensures calls are delivered to the PSAP, rather than non-emergency lines that are not equipped to handle 911 situations
  • Saves response time and money by reducing human error

To learn more about E911 for Telematics Providers, visit our Telematics Page or read the Solution Brief.

West Corporation

Posted on August 17, 2012 by West Corporation 


Don’t Let Next Gen Overwhelm You!

“I’m going to retire before this next gen stuff comes along!”I overheard these words while preparing to present on Next Generation 9-1-1 at a recent public safety conference.

I quickly responded (screeched), “Oh, no, you’re not!”

This was a woman with decades of experience – why would she say this?! After so rudely interjecting myself into her consciousness, I learned that she really was overwhelmed by new technology just like several other veteran 9-1-1 folks who quickly joined our conversation.

Change can be difficult. Our industry has endured one transition after another brought on by new technologies and new regulations. Some of us think we’re getting too old to endure another upgrade.

But we don’t need to be overwhelmed by the technology!  Think about the deployment of Next Generation 9-1-1 from a historical perspective of the last 40 years.

  • When we started the original enhanced 911 deployments, we didn’t know enough to feel overwhelmed! Networks had to be deployed; multiple necessary upgrades followed.
  • There were streets to be mapped and addresses established. We needed good location information (ALI). Talk about overwhelming! But we did it!
  • We needed to purchase PSAP equipment. New electronic equipment replaced old keysets.  I vividly recall how call takers begged to keep the old stuff.  No, no! Advancements were in the works and that old stuff was going to the Smithsonian!

Some upgrades to 9-1-1 have been more visible than others. These changes were made with careful planning, coordination and by establishing implementation schedules that were manageable for the PSAPs.  Upgrading our legacy 9-1-1 systems will take the same path.

Personally, I’m not about to retire until we move forward with the advanced technology that provides my son, the Paramedic and Firefighter, with vital data that can help him save more lives. And his own!

West Corporation

Posted on August 14, 2012 by West Corporation 


Dispelling the Myths of Texting to 9-1-1…

In today’s modern communications, texting is quickly becoming king. Millions of people in the U.S. send trillions of text messages to chat with a friend, order a pizza, vote for a reality TV contestant, donate money or even activate their home security system. Yet, despite the fact that texting has become a primary means of communication for much of the population, it is still unavailable across the majority of the country as a way to contact 9-1-1. How can that be?

It appears that many wireless service providers and public safety answering points (PSAPs) have been hesitant to use text for emergency communications due to concerns about reliability, connectivity, delivery problems, timely issues, overloading call takers, abuse of service, difficulty deciphering text language, etc. The proof is in the pudding. Waterloo, Iowa, Durham, N.C and the entire state of Vermont have adopted this new technology and it is working. These PSAPs’ experiences with text-to-9-1-1 technology prove that in actual deployments the original concerns have not been an issue and the systems work very well. Also, in large scale testing that we have done (SMS Reliability Study) text messaging, if implemented properly, can be made extremely reliable without significant delays and is a very valuable means for people to communicate with 9-1-1 in addition to voice calling. In fact, not only is the service working, these PSAPs have witnessed multiple scenarios where the ability to text in an emergency situation has saved lives.

In one situation, a 9-1-1 call taker received a text message indicating that the caller was witnessing the distribution of drugs at the time of the call. The call taker expertly queried the caller to ascertain the exact location of the drug deal, the type of drugs involved, whether weapons were present and the number of people at the scene.

In a separate event, a woman had locked herself in her bedroom because her ex-boyfriend broke into her home. Scared, she texted 9-1-1. Law enforcement responded to the call and officers were able to make an arrest. Had the woman called instead of texting, the ex-boyfriend would have heard her calling for help.

In both situations, text capabilities allowed the caller to safely disclose valuable information they would not have been able to provide via voice call because it would have put them in danger. In both instances, police were able to arrive on the scene with accurate information that allowed them to intervene and make arrests without harm to the caller.

There have also been many texts to 9-1-1 from children in abusive situations. Texting is the preferred mode of everyday communications for kids. It appears that these children are much more willing to ask for help over text and to share information than they would over a voice call to 9-1-1.

While voice calls are still the best way to contact 9-1-1, there is no doubt that text as a primary means of communication is here to stay. As the emergency communications community strives to catch up with modern communications, it is essential that text-to-9-1-1 capabilities be implemented as soon as possible. Today, a large portion of the public erroneously believes they can contact 9-1-1 via text and that is simply unacceptable.

With a select number of pilots underway across the country, it has clearly been demonstrated that text is easy-to-use, secure and effective as a means to communicate with citizens in need of emergency help. Further testing has proven that the technology is reliable, secure and in line with i3. The addition of text capabilities has to happen at some point…why not now? We owe it to our citizens to offer them this potentially life-saving service.


West Corporation

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