In addition, Airbus DS Communications established an internal goal of having at least 60% of its PSAP customers having text-to-911 capability by the end of 2019, Freinberg said. Although text-to-911 service can be provided without adopting other key components of an NG911 architecture, introducing the text capability is a key step for PSAPs as they prepare to move to the data-centric, multimedia functionality associated with NG911, he said.

Currently, less than 20% of PSAPs nationwide provide text-to-911 service, Freinberg said.

“Our organization is working to make this as seamless as possible,” he said. “That means that, in a couple of years, we’re going to have to have 50 PSAPs per month launching SMS text-to-911 service … That means this solution has to be easy to turn on, easy to manage.

“It’s a big-time goal for us and a real test for the industry. While people are talking about multimedia and i3, let’s get text to 911.”

Meanwhile, Airbus DS Communications is committed to providing solutions that help PSAPs migrate from legacy 911 to NG911 via the stages outlined by the FCC’s Task Force on Optimal PSAP Architecture (TFOPA), Freinberg said.

One product that is designed to help PSAPs meet their NG911 is VESTA Analytics, which is a management-information system that helps public safety sort through the vast amount of data generated in a next-gen environment to uncover relevant information, Freinberg said. Not only does Airbus Communications provide analytics that can scale to a municipality as large as New York City, the company also has developed solutions that meet the needs of smaller entities, he said.

“While we have these robust platforms, some of them need 30% or 40% of what is there,” Freinberg said. “We will work with each and every one to make sure we assist, so that they can be configured to meet their daily, monthly and yearly needs. That’s something we take very seriously.”

Airbus DS Communications also continues to upgrade its software offerings, with its latest release—expected to be generally available during the first quarter of this year—including functionality to support heads-up displays of key metrics, greater resiliency and survivability at the server-connectivity level, and customizable features, Freinberg said.

Providing customizable solutions is important in the current environment, because each PSAP faces a unique set of challenges, Freinberg said. However, there are some factors that seem to be present in all situations, he said.

“They face the fact that they have staffing issues, they have turnover, they have to perform more functions as telecommunicators than they ever have before, they’ve got to bring in new folks and train them,” Freinberg said. “We’re proud that our systems gives them diagnostic tools to let them perform their jobs more effectively, manage not only in sunny days but in the bad days that happen.

“We give them these tools, and that’s what’s important to them. Because there has not been one municipality that I’ve spoken to that doesn’t say, ‘I have less funding. I have more to do and less people. I have to have the tools to perform at a higher level. Standards are going higher. Help me—help me plan and help me operationalize.’”