Leading 911 solutions provider Intrado this week announced a suite of products designed to provide public-safety answering points (PSAPs) with a technology path to make the transition to next-generation 911, based on the i3 standard recently approved by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).

Although Intrado officials were critical of many aspects of the i3 standards approval process, the company supports the NENA board’s approval of the i3 document, which included an explanatory statement describing i3 as an “end-vision” standard rather than one that provides specific buildout instructions, Intrado CTO Stephen Meer said.

“I feel good about the [NENA] board’s position,” he said.

However, Meer expressed concern about the many potential purchasing entities’ understanding of i3, noting that many may ask for i3 systems without investigating the need to maintain connections to elements of the legacy 911 systems. With this in mind, Meer said he believes the Request for Assistance Interface (RFAI) transition standard will remain relevant in the 911 industry for at least a decade.

“RFAI gives you the ability to connect to a legacy environment … and bridge the gap where some of the elements have made the way to i3,” Meer said. “From my view, RFAI’s useful lifespan isn’t about when did people start moving i3 stuff to the marketplace, it when does is the whole system — all the systems that are offering traffic and all of the delivery to the PSAPs — IP-based. At that point, then you wouldn’t need RFAI.”

New Intrado i3 products include premise-based and hosted Positron VIPER call-processing equipment (CPE) and managed and secure emergency services IP network (ESINet) services. Meer said Intrado’s ESINet offering is available today and the CPE products are in the final stages of testing.

According to an Intrado press release, additional products in the i3 product portfolio include IP voice and data delivery to PSAPs, comprehensive geographic-information services, location-information services, advanced call-routing services, network and application security services and advanced message-switching services.

“With the addition of these i3 products, Intrado has the most comprehensive range of public-safety offerings — from CPE to ESINet services,” Joe Hernandez, senior vice president for Intrado, said in a prepared statement. “We’ve made a significant and successful investment in next-generation 911 and have taken careful consideration to ensure that our i3 product suite simultaneously supports legacy and next-generation 911 over a single ESINet infrastructure. This eliminates the need to run two different network environments, saving cost and reducing complexity.”