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Aug 06 2019

How “Total Conversation” emergency calls can make the public safer

Multimedia communications — including real-time text, real-time video, picture sharing and instant messaging — can offer crucial information to emergency response centers (also known as public safety answering points or PSAPs). These multimedia services and applications have spread quickly throughout society. Yet the institutions responsible for managing emergency requests and response in most communities still generally rely on aging emergency response infrastructure (9-1-1/112) to obtain information about the crises emerging in their areas, and this information is currently limited to voice-only calls.

Today a vast majority of the calls made to PSAPs originate from wireless devices (feature phones and smartphones) that use 3G and 4G wireless networks. Most of these devices can send true multimedia information and very accurate device location information. This kind of data would not only help emergency call takers (also known as telecommunicators) improve their understanding of an emergency situation but could also be easily relayed to first responders, now that mission-critical broadband networks are being adopted by public safety organizations. The result will be “Total Conversation emergency calls” from citizens to PSAPs to emergency teams in the field.

So why aren’t these commercially available and widespread capabilities playing a bigger role in emergency communications? There are some pretty good reasons. In general, emergency call infrastructure has been fairly robust, reliable and available, and with the introduction of E9-1-1 a few years ago, support for emergency calls from wireless devices, together with the caller’s location information (usually within 50 to 300 meters), has helped PSAPs manage emergency requests in their daily operations. Also, upgrading or replacing those systems is not a trivial challenge. Still, there are obvious limitations to continuing to rely on a voice-centric approach. As a result, we have been moving slowly but steadily toward Total Conversation emergency calls, which can integrate the full range of multimedia communications options (audio, video and enhanced messaging) available to the typical smartphone user.

Successful steps to Total Conversation

As is usually the case with evolutionary developments, this transition presents some significant technical challenges. That’s why Nokia offers the following white paper and a webinar to clarify the obstacles, opportunities and benefits associated with Total Conversation emergency calls.

Start with a good overview by reading “Transforming Emergency Services Communication in the age of IP Multi-media,”  a white paper commissioned by Nokia from renowned analyst firm IHS Markit. It includes a roadmap that can help public safety organizations identify the right steps to modernize their emergency response centers infrastructure. 

Learn more about the technologies by viewing the webinar which is available at any time. It explains how combining NG9-1-1/NG112 and 3GPP LTE technologies can enable Total Conversation emergency calls  — and in turn provide police, fire and emergency medical personnel with the power to collaborate more effectively, improve their preparedness and make faster, more informed and effective operational decisions. 

See the future of public safety. Visit Nokia at APCO 2019, Booth 1144 to discuss next-generation emergency services and safe cities. 

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokiaindustries using #missioncritical #publicsafety #allwhere

About Fabricio Velez

Public Sector Solution Architect on the Enterprise Services Solution Management team, leading the solution architecture definition, partner ecosystem qualification, and value proposition development of Next Generation Emergency Services solutions.

Fabricio has over 18 years of wireless and wireline network design, solution development and consulting experience with service providers and public safety agencies around the globe with a special emphasis on network and technology migrations.

Fabricio holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Tweet me at @FabricioVelezG