It’s Time to Take Another Look at E-911

It’s Time to Take Another Look at E-911

The advancement of Next-Generation 911 requires IT leaders to revisit their E-911 plans.

Last week, Avaya held Engage, its annual customer, partner, analyst, and consultant event. As my fellow No Jitter writer Zeus Kerravala noted, the event largely centered on Avaya’s advancements around its cloud strategy. However, another announcement coming out of the event may have more widespread impact — that of Avaya becoming the first UC vendor to announce that its unified communications solutions are Next Generation 911 (NG911) compliant.

Anyone familiar with 911 location management within an enterprise knows it can be challenging. Most current methods involve capturing fixed phone location using network polling, or tracking softphone and mobile UC clients using the app’s own ability, or that of a management plug-in, which detects that the client has moved to a different network and forces the user to confirm the correct location before they are able to make a call. Location changes are fed into a public safety database via scheduled updates from a corporate-managed repository, or are captured by a 911 management provider like RedSky or West Safety Services. As the world has transitioned away from fixed phones to mobile devices and softphones, the challenge of tracking increasingly mobile user location has grown exponentially more difficult.
NG911 is based on a different approach — one that enables the phone to recognize where it is and transmit its location to a 911 call center at the same time the 911 call is placed. Phones make use of a variety of available information, including GPS, cellular triangulation, and/or information obtained from Wi-Fi access points to know where they are — the same sort of location awareness information used by applications and services ranging from Uber to weather apps to Waze. …

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