August 11, 2011
Yesterday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced plans to transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) services. Working with the public safety community, carriers, manufacturers, and other service providers, the goal is to integrate voice, text, data, photos, and video into an end-to-end IP-based network, making it a lot easier for first responders to answer 9-1-1 calls.
With so many people ditching their landlines and relying on mobile and smart phones, this news is a really big sigh of relief. Just yesterday, a friend told me about getting transferred from one dispatcher to another (3 transfers in all) when he called 9-1-1 from his smart phone while at home. That is pretty scary.
NG911 will be super beneficial to everyone for a few reasons:
- Increased public access for people with disabilities, not to mention more calling options
- Enhanced information for first responders via text, data, photos, and videos that will allow them to assess emergencies more quickly and respond more effectively.
- Increased reliability, because IP-based architecture is more flexible and resilient than the circuit-switched 911 system that is currently in place
The first part of the plan will focus on developing location accuracy mechanisms for NG-911, which is currently underway.
If you want to learn more, check out their fact sheet, but – and I can’t believe I am saying this about the website of a Federal government agency – visit their website, because it is really well-designed. It’s not only gorgeous, but also easy to navigate and very user-friendly. You will be shocked, just as I was.
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