Switching over to a new technology isn’t always easy. That’s why CalNENA, the educators in emergency phone number network information, has provided all the NG911 basics. Next Generation 911, or NG911, is a fairly simple technology switch for 911 call centers. However, it will take some time. This new communication module is absolutely necessary for both call centers and callers, but FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says it will take five steps to get there.
According to CalNENA 911, NG911 supports IP-based communication of all kinds. It supports emergency-related voice, text, data, photos and video between public safety answering points, or PSAPs. Through new IP PSAPs, NG911 will be able to automatically locate a mobile user.
This type of communication is particularly important in public safety, because it makes the communication accessible to a wider range of people. Because of NG911’s wide range of user options, now people with disabilities will have easier access to alert public safety.
Not only that, but public safety officials will find that NG911 allows them to respond faster and more effectively. Now that other forms of communication are becoming a national standard, people are texting, sending photos, videos and other data via smartphone. While a call may take several minutes to gather information, a text message can be sent in half the time. NG911 gives public safety the opportunity to take advantage of SMS technology, while improving their service at the same time.
Let’s face it. Technology is heading towards IP communication of all kinds. From mobile VoIP to IP security networks, new communication technology is moving rapidly. NG911 is just another step in the right direction. IP-based communication structures provide a more flexible, easier to use system, in comparison to the circuit-switch.
However, the switch to IP will take time. FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski said that there will be five steps to complete before switching completely to NG911. Some of these steps are currently being processed, since the APCO Conference in Philadelphia on Aug. 10, 2011. Location, awareness, implementation, funding and further development will all have to take place before NG911 takes over.
Determining the accuracy of the location will be extremely important for NG911. This is why the FCC began working on NG911’s accuracy in July, 2011. Development and funding efforts are currently going through the authorization process, as Congress is looking at funding options for the new communication system.
The FCC has made other public safety efforts as well. Now the public can easily access Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN) through their mobile phones. PLAN alerts the user when a threat could be geographically known. However, location accuracy for NG911 has been the FCC’s main goal in public safety.
Although the switch to NG911 won’t necessarily be quick, or easy, it is part of the future for public safety. In time, this technology will be widely used and IP communications will be the industry standard. That is, until the next generation comes along.