Public-safety answering points (PSAPs) now can use Verint Systems' patent-protected call-recording and speech-analytics technology to analyze trends in 911 calls and help improve call-taker performance or to assist in investigations.

In a pilot program with the Chester County (Pa.) Department of Emergency Services, Verint's speech-analytics software was used to analyze 911 calls to the center. The analysis revealed a trend of callers changing voice inflection during the location-verification process, a sign of frustration with the system, said Bobby Kagel, assistant director for quality in the Chester County center. As a result, the center decided to streamline the location-verification process.

“Typically, in our center, we have people saying this is happening or that is happening … but it's all anecdotal,” Kagel said. “With Verint, we had verifiable data. … The bottom line is that data is power.”

Speech-analytics software also could be used to quickly identify 911 calls regarding a single incident, such as a sniper attack, or an ongoing situation, such as an arson spree, Kagel said. In addition to its investigative value, such technology could make it easier for emergency coordinators to justify budgetary needs by pointing to specific metrics instead of making pleas based solely on anecdotal evidence.

Kagel said Chester County hopes to install the Verint system permanently when it becomes available early next year.

Verint's speech-analytics software has been used for years in commercial call centers, but the company is in the process of adapting the technology for use in the public-safety arena, said Kristyn Emenecker, Verint's director of solutions marketing. Emenecker said the solution's ability to identify calls based on a single word is not great, but the ability for the software to identify calls that include a phrase is in the 95% range.