Avaya, a leading provider of contact-center solutions in the enterprise sector, has teamed with emergency-calling partners to pursue a more significant position in the 911 arena, as well as a more economic model for public-safety answering points (PSAPs) seeking next-generation 911 (NG911) functionality, according to a company official.

Mark Fletcher, Avaya’s chief architect of public-safety solutions, said that NG911’s IP-based architecture that enables access to information from multiple databases aligns well with Avaya’s heritage of providing affordable call-center solutions for enterprise sectors that demand high reliability and resiliency.

“We’ve done this before. We’ve done this for some of the toughest industries on the planet,” Fletcher said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “Public safety is absolutely critical, because it is life safety. But let me tell you something: When the financial markets in New York City are down for two seconds, they have a conniption fit, because it’s millions of dollars that they’re losing. They not losing lives, but they’re losing money, and that’s the lifeblood of a company. So, when the financials go down, we know about it.

“We’ve built these solutions for highly resilient environments. We’ve felt the pain. When the airlines can’t fly, they feel that from a business perspective, so we have tested these new modalities. We know how to deliver a multimedia, multimodal contact-center environment that deals with massive amounts of phone calls.”

Avaya’s increased focus on the 911 market was reflected in the company’s larger booth at last week’s NENA 2018 event in Nashville, Fletcher said.

“In the past, we pretty much been backend plumbing that—on its own—has value, but it’s not an end solution that a public-safety dispatcher would look at,” Fletcher said.

But Avaya has taken steps to change that perception during the past year, particularly through strategic partnerships with Beta 80, an Italy-based company that boasts its suite of computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and call-taking solutions for emergency call centers, and Avaya's new Sentry emergency-response management (ERM) product built by 911 Secure. Both products meet NENA’s i3 standards for NG911, according to Avaya.

Beta 80 has had “great success” in the European market for emergency-call-center CAD, Fletcher said.

“They hold a good segment of the Italian market and around Europe, as well,” he said. “They’ve been trying to make landfall in the U.S. This year, with Avaya’s help, we can actually show their platform running on the Avaya backend.”

Beta 80 General Manager Gregory Rohde said that Avaya was a logical partner for the Italy-based CAD provider, which is one of the first CAD systems in the world to integrate information from Waze and other crowd-sourcing data applications.

“When we started looking at the U.S. market, started seeing where Mark [Fletcher] was driving Avaya in the next-gen 911 space and knowing that the market’s really about demanding an end-to-end solution, we kind of fit into that vision that Mark was creating with Avaya in the market,” Rohde said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications earlier this year.