Preparing PSAPs for NG9-1-1

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PSAPs will need to utilize NG9-1-1 subject matter experts to guide them through the enormous amount of technology, legislative and operational changes that will impact their work environment.
Winbourne Consulting NextGen9-1-1 / FirstNet

While NG9-1-1 has been a topic of conversation for more than a decade, some Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPS) are clearing the way for the larger PSAP community in the adoption of NG9-1-1 capabilities. While, at times, this migration has been a painfully slow process, there are signs of escalation in the implementation of this highly desirable technology. Several states have implemented Emergency Services IP Networks (ESInets) to connect PSAPs with secured networks and call routing capabilities. This has enabled CPE (Call Processing Equipment) vendors to provide cloud based and shared solutions that can serve a whole region instead of a single PSAP. An ESInet is also a critical component in the routing of calls between PSAPs and providing the backbone for the transportation of NG9-1-1 data. While the call routing and data integration could be done separately, using a regional or statewide ESInet allows both call routing and data interoperability to coexist on the same network. Not only does this ability reduce the cost of both call handling and data sharing, it additionally provides a secure connection between all participating PSAPs.

While early PSAP adaptors have benefited from NG9-1-1/ESInet call routing, they have not been able to implement the data sharing process because of the lack of standards and adaptation of data sharing capabilities by CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) vendors. This lack of ability to incorporate these functions into CAD requires that data contributors such as alarm, telematics, panic button and IoT (Internet of Things) companies rely on voice communication with PSAPs to convey this critical information instead of being able to transmit the information electronically. To that end NENA is currently working on two standards that will assist these companies and provide the ability to share data between PSAPs. These standards include the joint APCO/NENA Structure of Data Standard, and the (future) NG9-1-1 PSAP Specifications for the i3 Solution. These are part of the EIDD (Emergency Incident Data Document) (2.105.1-2017) and are needed in order for Public Safety vendors to develop software applications that allow seamless data interoperability to occur from disparate CAD systems. An important component of the NG9-1-1 PSAP Specifications for the i3 Solution is the Functional Element (FE) concept that defines how data is imported and managed by the ECC (Emergency Communication Center)/911 Center CAD system and personnel. The two primary FEs are call and Incident handling functions. Other FEs deal with EIDD data exchange, dispatch resource management, logging services, reporting services, radio interfaces, timers, collaboration tools, alerts, mapping, security and third-party interfaces such as Police and Fire Records. The NG9-1-1 PSAP standard is following the i3 standard and is targeted to be released by the end of 2019.

The large amounts of new technology and associated operational requirements are placing a significant amount of pressure on the PSAPs. Not only do the PSAPs need to purchase and adapt to the new technology, but they must also adapt to the operational changes that come along with these new capabilities. Additionally, PSAPs will need to utilize NG9-1-1 subject matter experts to guide them through the enormous amount of technology, legislative and operational changes that will impact their work environment. These changes require that the PSAPs have capabilities that allow for new functions such as reviewing video, dealing with automated call and data processing that utilizes AI (Artificial Intelligence), real-time computer-aided language translation, texting, integration with hospital systems, fusion centers and third-party applications, such as tow truck companies.

The adoption of NG9-1-1 requires a significant amount of diverse planning to be able to effectively implement NG911. PSAPs will need to implement upgraded systems and will put a tremendous amount of pressure on the PSAPs to hire and properly train new telecommunicators, re-train existing telecommunicators, and acquire expertise on an on-going basis in new areas. For example, Regional PSAP interoperability MOUs (Memorandums of Understanding) must be agreed to and signed by all of the regional, and in some cases, state PSAPs, in order for data sharing to occur. These legislative and management changes will require extensive knowledge and experience to develop and incorporate.

Winbourne Consulting provides NG9-1-1 knowledgeable SMEs that can assist PSAPs in successfully navigating through the vast number of technical, legislative and operational requirements. For further information, please contact Winbourne Consulting at info@w-llc.com or (703)584-5350 ext. 104.

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