Softphones are becoming the communication tool of choice for enterprises, and with good reason. They offer a variety of communication features that ease team collaboration, and provide users with the flexibility of working virtually anywhere. However, what would happen if someone in your organization dialed 911 from their softphone? Are you equipped with the necessary systems to locate that 911 caller and route the call, with accurate location information, to the nearest Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP)? How quickly can first responders locate an emergency in your enterprise, if that 911 call comes from a softphone?
Better locations, faster response, saves lives
The FCC estimated that improved indoor wireless location accuracy may reduce emergency response time by one minute, resulting in over 10,000 lives that could be saved annually.
In 2018, Congress mandated that the FCC conclude a proposed rulemaking proceeding by September 23, 2019, to consider requiring that a dispatchable location be provided with a 911 call, regardless the type of technology platform used to deliver the call. A dispatchable location is proposed to be defined as a street address and additional information, such as a room number, floor number, or similar information necessary to adequately identify the location of the caller.
Addressing Location Accuracy
Although there is no location accuracy standard implemented nationwide just yet, it’s smart for enterprises to take a proactive approach to providing precise, dispatchable 911 locations for all users. West’s Location Manager is designed to locate highly mobile users who use their softphones to dial 911 on- or off-site. It reduces the time and effort associated with location management as the process is fully automated. Deployed as a module of West’s Emergency Routing Service, Location Manager tracks a 911 call and routes the location data along the call to the proper PSAP, keeping your organization ahead of any regulatory compliance standards that may be issued. What’s more, 911 calls from softphones without a provisioned location are delivered to West’s Emergency Call Relay Center (ECRC) so they can still be routed to the correct PSAP.
How Does It Work?
West’s Location Manager uses Level 2, Level 3 and Wireless LAN network maps to track and assign a location to an on-site softphone user. When off-premises, the user is prompted to enter their location on their softphone, and only needs to do so once with any new location. Over-prompting users to enter their location can result in those messages being ignored, thereby increasing the number of unprovisioned locations; Location Manager solves this by saving previously-entered locations automatically. The software is compatible with on-site IP phone discovery systems, leading industry PBXs, and is available for Windows and MAC OS clients.
Waiting Isn’t Worth the Risk
Location accuracy may seem like a small detail when planning an enterprise 911 strategy. It’s a small detail that could have a serious impact on the safety of your enterprise, and may materialize into a regulatory obligation in the near future. Don’t wait until you have to implement a location solution, talk to an E911 specialist today about how your enterprise can solve location accuracy for softphone users.