By Steve Lowe

After years of planning and strategizing, the Next-Generation 9-1-1 (NextGen 9-1-1) migration is underway. All the talk has turned into action, with public safety answering points (PSAPs), regional authorities and states across the country diving into the evolutionary process of transitioning from legacy analog networks and components to powerful next-generation emergency services IP networks (ESInets) and call-processing equipment (CPE). Many agencies are actively accepting native text to 9-1-1, and we are seeing the emergence of i3 NextGen 9-1-1 location-based routing functions.

 “With more than 440 ESInet projects, multiple statewide deployments in action, 16 million NextGen 9-1-1 calls delivered, and TXT29-1-1® deployments live in several states with multiple carriers, we feel very strongly that we can help PSAPs of any size and budget take this important step.” said Steve Lowe, senior vice president of Intrado.

A Proven Statewide Solution

Several states across the country have worked with Intrado to complete statewide upgrades of their emergency services systems with more reliable and advanced 9-1-1 communications.

In March 2014, Minnesota completed the upgrade to its NextGen 9-1-1 system and has already seen enhanced voice clarity; in addition, Minnesota call centers are reportedly getting calls 6-7 seconds faster. Similar stories can be told for the states of Vermont and Hawaii.

In mid-2011, the Vermont Enhanced 9-1-1 Board partnered with Intrado to upgrade its legacy emergency communications network to a NextGen 9-1-1 ESInet, which combined with Intrado A9-1-1® Routing to enable dynamic, emergency call-routing processing.

When Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc in Vermont on Aug. 28, 2011, the Intrado enhanced 9-1-1 call-routing system and ESInet enabled the state of Vermont to immediately and dynamically modify call flows to keep 9-1-1 services operational.

“Our call volume was almost twice as much as we had ever seen,” said David H. Tucker, executive director for the Vermont Enhanced 9-1-1 Board. “Our legacy system would have been completely overwhelmed. Instead, we were able to distribute the call volume to PSAPs across the state and ensure that calls got answered.”

An exciting collaboration between Hawaiian Telcom, Inc. and Intrado occurred in 2012. Together, they introduced NextGen 9-1-1 products and services to PSAPs and residents statewide. The joint effort significantly accelerated the deployment of advanced 9-1-1 capabilities to agencies serving Hawaii's more than 1.4 million residents.

"We're pleased to be working with such an experienced NextGen 9-1-1 provider as Intrado to deliver the latest in 9-1-1 technology solutions for Hawaii's residents and the public-safety agencies that serve our communities," said Michael Czerwinski, Hawaiian Telcom's senior vice president of customer operations. "Intrado's unmatched NextGen 9-1-1 history and proven technology are the perfect complement to the communications and network services we've provided throughout our state for well over a century."

Taking NextGen 9-1-1 one or two steps further

Text-to-9-1-1 has become a reality in Durham, N.C., where Emergency Services Center Director James Soukup moved 9-1-1 emergency call-center operations to Intrado, preparing the center for the full range of web-based NextGen 9-1-1 services. The Intrado hosted system enhanced the capabilities of the communications center while reducing existing vulnerabilities. 

Verizon Wireless chose Durham to pilot a trial 9-1-1 texting program in 2011. AT&T also tested texting with Durham in March 2014, and they now the PSAP has both Verizon and AT&T on board. The carriers deliver the text messages to the PSAP via Intrado.