Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) is an initiative to enhance the existing 9-1-1 service infrastructure in the United States and Canada to improve public emergency communications services. Instead of calling 911 from a phone, enable the public to send messages(Text, Image, Video, Audio) to the NG9-1-1 compatible call center. CRTC(Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ) and US Department of Transportation have been leading their initiatives, which include R&D projects aimed at advancing NG9-1-1. NG9-1-1 is an Internet Protocol (IP) based system that allows digital information (voice, images, videos, text messages) to flow seamlessly from the public through the network and on to call takers and emergency responders.
Currently there are difficulties in supporting text messages, images and video for emergencies. Latest wireless and IP based communications devices are offering features such as text, audio and video messaging. Unfortunately, the existing 9-1-1 system was not intended to receive calls and data from these new technologies. The need for inter communications across states and across countries requires more sophisticated 911 system. In short, NG9-1-1 is a system which supports text messaging, share text in groups, video, other high bandwidth data transfer and communicate seamlessly with other PSAPs(Public Safety Answering Point).
The initial thought of NG911 started in 2000 and was originally published by NENA(National Emergency Number Association). NENA has worked hard to develop NG9-1-1 standards. It is essential that core features of Enhanced 9-1-1(E911) are maintained as we migrate over to a new technology (IP) using different software and database to perform 9-1-1 system capabilities and features. All current service types must continue to be supported seamlessly, with no service dropout during the transition from E9-1-1 to NG9-1-1.
With the implementation of Next-Generation 9-1-1 well underway, a detailed set of written directives, including SOP(standard operating procedures) and policies will be a critical part of the NG 911 implementation. NENA i3 Architecture Standard describes how NG9-1-1 works after transition from E9-1-1 and interworking requirements for IP-based and TDM-based PSAPs and origination networks(Ref: NENA Detailed Functional and Interface Standards for the NENA i3 Solution). NG9-1-1 Call Center should support Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) call handling and advanced call control technologies to cater the emergency and administrative call handling needs of PSAPs. It should also support Automatic Call Distribution (ACD), one click/button transfer etc. Identifying what will an NG9-1-1 call for assistance look like, how will this impact the existing PSAP workflow, how will it be delivered, What multimedia information will it contain and what new skills will call-takers and dispatchers need are the important points/questions to consider while switching from E9-1-1 call center to NG9-1-1 call center.
The Federal Communications Commission estimates that around 70% of the emergency calls are made from mobile devices. Most emergency call centers throughout the world still use analog equipment, they can’t receive text messages, pictures, audio or video: in a world when almost 90% of people own a mobile phone/smartphone. Location Tracking and decreased response time, full-proof evidence, additional support for the deaf and hard of hearing are some of the key advantages of NG911 with modern smart phones.
At Cycloides, we are working on a generic NG9-1-1 client mobile app framework for Public Safety solutions providers which is compatible with NENA i3 Architecture standards.
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