On December 21, 2010 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Inquiry on Next Generation 9-1-1.
We submitted our comments to the NOI in a very comprehensive document covering our viewpoints on how to bridge the gap between today's 9-1-1 system to an advanced communications system that enables the public to obtain emergency assistance beyond traditional voice-centric devices.
We invite you view the complete comments on the FCC website. However, if you're looking for the cliff notes, we're planning on a 4-series blog post that begins today with a focus on NG9-1-1 capabilities and applications.
Potential Media Types in NG9-1-1
All media types should be reviewed to determine how each will benefit a 9-1-1 caller and first responders and the primary media type should remain two-way communications between the user and the public safety answering point.
Primary v. Secondary Usage of Media Types
Primary media should include "message-based" text and "real-time text." Additional methods should include still images, real-time video, telemetry data and auxiliary medical and other personal data should be considered secondary data.
SMS for Emergency Communications
We feel that there are no insurmountable technical barriers to a SMS to 9-1-1 service and that it's possible to implement such a service with negligible impact on infrastructure. The key is to make the SMS to 9-1-1 connection interconnection at the right point in the process.
Without a business or regulatory driver to implement this interconnection, a similar legislation process may be required for the implementation of SMS to 9-1-1 interconnection services as what was required to implement cell phone location services from the carriers. Adherence to standards will also be required.
NG9-1-1 Applications for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs
Deaf, hard-of-hearing, speech-impaired and other special needs persons and those who choose to use Real Time Text (RTT) should be supported with a Text over IP (ToIP) solution with the implementation of an IP-based NG9-1-1 infrastructure.
Non-English speakers often rely on language interpreters to relay information back and forth between call takers and the 9-1-1 caller. The same procedures that are used for voice calls can be adapted to other calls entering the PSAP.
We'll continue our series on Monday with a blog post on NG9-1-1 network architecture.