The CCA Voice - Fall/Winter 2017 - 43
E V ERY T HING CON N EC T ED: M A K ING IoT A R E A LI T Y
Delivery Beyond ALI
By Megan Stapleton
Director, Product Management,
Comtech Telecommunications Corp.
etermining a caller's location and
managing location data are the
cornerstones of legacy, interim,
and Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) public
safety solutions. Many industry vendors
offer products that cater to this need,
with full Automatic Location Identification
(ALI) data for 9-1-1 systems plus access
to and management of ALI information.
These products ensure that location data
requirements can be met now and in the
future. Despite the market's offerings, it will
take several years before fully compliant
NG9-1-1 deployments allow for multimedia
messaging between telecommunicators
and 9-1-1 callers. Nevertheless, improving
the level of response of public safety
entities need not wait for a complete
system overhaul or significant federal/
state/local funding. Options exist today for
public safety answering points (PSAPs) that
wish to receive supplemental data beyond
what ALI can offer and in advance of full
emergency services IP network (ESInet)
First we must define what is meant by
supplemental data. Supplemental data
involves data related to an emergency
call or a Text to 9-1-1 session that is not
currently available to ALI systems. Today's
ALI databases have limited data fields and
character spaces, resulting in a partial
picture of the incident. This can affect
response time to the incident as well as
the level of response being provided.
Supplemental data includes information
beyond basic x-y coordinates; such as
office number of a building, data from
device sensors, health records, relationship
information, campus data, and images of
an incident (e.g., industrial accidents or car
crashes). All of this is critical information
that can help PSAPs improve their response
to requests for emergency assistance.
While there is some limited room
within ALI data fields to accommodate
additional information, this "real estate"
is extremely limited. It is essentially
constricted to a single additional data
field that only allows several hundred
characters. This limitation is clearly unable
to accommodate many of the examples
cited above, although a creative approach
can allow some important supplemental
data to be squeezed into this space. That
might include the suite or floor number of
a call source. It could also include a "key"
to query for other information outside
the actual ALI data field. For example, a
URL could be posted in this field, pointing
to a web page where other vital data
associated with the incident is stored.
There are several sources and services
available today that provide the types
of supplemental data mentioned above.
For example, data from vehicle sensors
can provide important information about
airbag deployment, speed prior to impact,
which side of the vehicle was struck, the
number of passengers, and so on. While
all this information cannot fit in a field
limited to a few hundred characters, every
car also has a unique identifier known
as a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN),
which will certainly fit in an ALI field. The
responding PSAP could cross-reference
data in this field by sending it to a
web-based service, such as those offered
by Comtech Telecommunications Corp.
and others. These services have no upper
limit as to the amount of information that
can be displayed.
Another service called "Smart911"
is available for free to all U.S. residents.
Subscribers can list their medical conditions,
home and office addresses (including
floor and suite number), and many other
personal details. PSAPs with access to
Smart911 can query the database to see
if the person calling has created a profile.
The richness and specificity of data will
substantially improve the situational
awareness of first responders; for example,
in a 9-1-1 call regarding a heart attack in
progress, it would be immensely helpful to
know that the caller is wheelchair-bound
and lives in an apartment on the 34th floor.
While these services are not, in all
cases, fully integrated into existing public
safety systems, they are currently available
and demonstrate how supplemental
data can provide real value to the
current transitional state of the 9-1-1
Comtech Safety & Security Technologies
has been demonstrating its commitment to
public safety for over 20 years. We offer reliable
solutions for NG9-1-1, wireless E9-1-1, Text to 9-11, and emerging technologies such as VoIP and
VoWiFi. Telecommunications providers, states,
and local jurisdictions rely on our portfolio of
products and services.
VOICE * www.ccamobile.org * Fall/Winter 2017 43