The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a description of NG911 that describes the growth of the industry and its service to the public over 40+ years. Technologies used in communication continue to evolve and include wireless phones, text and picture messaging, video chat, social media, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) devices. The public expects and assumes that the 911 services they rely on will be able to accept information from any of these communication methods. While efforts are underway to enable call centers to accept these types of media, the future success of 911 to meet the changing technology in communication and to fully serve the public’s needs will only be possible when the Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) have fully transitioned to an Internet Protocol (IP)-based 911 system. This is commonly referred to as Next Generation 911 or NG911.
NG911 will enhance emergency number services by creating a faster, more resilient system that allows digital information (e.g., voice, photos, videos, text messages) to flow seamlessly from the public, through the 911 network and eventually, directly to first responders. It will also enable 911 call centers to transfer 911 calls to other call centers and help them deal with call overload, disasters, and day-to-day transfer of 911 calls to other jurisdictions. This transition is not going to happen quickly. Each 911 call center will transition at a different pace to reach acceptance of photos, videos, and fully integrated text messages.
NG911 will also help to improve the PSAPs ability to handle call overload with built in redundancies and recoveries from natural and man-made disasters. The coordination of this transition will require each PSAP across the nation to enhance their computer hardware and software. However, it will also require a higher level of coordination between public safety, legislative, and governing entities.
Equature stands ready with recording equipment that can handle the digital demands of NG911 and solutions to fit the needs of every PSAP. The transition to Next Generation 911 will impact EMS, law, fire, and 911, and we understand that public safety is the foundation for safe neighborhoods.