One of the critical capabilities of the public-safety answering point of the future is the ability to seamlessly transfer data from one PSAP to another in real time. The ability to do that will depend on whether IP-based architectures are in play. It is a point that hasn’t been lost on Mahendra Soneji, vice president of product management for crisis communications vendor PlantCML.

“IP is now the thing that everyone is asking for, in order to share resources,” Soneji said.

PlantCML is listening, having added IP to its Vesta Pallas platform that is engineered for smaller 911 emergency call centers. The platform lets 911 call-takers transfer calls along with the associated background information — including ANI/ALI data — to another emergency call center as needed. For instance, say a traffic accident necessitated a medical evacuation helicopter that the local agency didn’t possess. The call then could be shifted to an agency that has that capability.

The call-taker could call the other PSAP, but that would “not be acceptable,” Soneji said, because precious time would be wasted and vital information could be lost in the reporting.

The IP-enabled version of Vesta Pallas moves data between 911 centers via a “consultative transfer,” which Soneji said was similar to a three-way voice call. PlantCML demonstrated the capability at last month’s National Emergency Number Association Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

Though the latest version of the platform is fully IP-capable — for instance, it supports IP phones at the call-taker positions — it also supports TDM for agencies that prefer a slower migration to IP. “We believe we’re the only system on the market that supports such a migration,” said Soneji, who added that PlantCML plans to introduce version 2.7 of Vesta Pallas in October.

The company also demonstrated at NENA a disaster-recovery solution that leverages it’s Sentinel Patriot and CommandPost applications, as well as satellite communications.

he idea is that satellite can be used to reroute calls coming into a PSAP that has been rendered inoperable to a working center. Also, the satellite disaster recovery stations could be positioned in a mobile command center to create a transportable, de facto PSAP that could be used in disaster situations and to support special events.

Currently being used by Burke County, N.C., the solution also supports computer-aided dispatch, mapping, radio and administrative telephone functions.