Fueled by the emergence of voice over IP (VoIP) and other communications technologies that are not integrated easily into the current 911 system, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) today announced a new project to address the location-awareness problems.

Dubbed APCO Project 41-VoIP and Emerging Technology Location Challenges, the new project has been established to develop partnerships with vendors and service providers to improve the location information newer technologies provide to public-safety answering points (PSAPs) in times of emergency. In addition, Project 41 is expected to help educate consumers to manage their expectations and create a guide that includes technical/operational alternatives for PSAPs.

APCO President Wanda McCarley said the Project 41 effort is successor to Project 38, which looked at the challenges of location technologies associated with wireless E-911. The advent of Project 41, which APCO hopes to start within a couple of months, marks the end of Project 38, she said.

“I think it will be a really important project,” McCarley said in a phone interview with MRT. “From my perspective, the implementation of VoIP [into the 911 system] is a much more difficult task than wireless Phase II.”

McCarley said she believes the Project 41 team will focus on solutions that PSAPs can use in the near future to best help VoIP 911 callers using the existing 911 system. However, the team also will look at long-term remedies based on IP-centric networks and technologies, she said.