Kentucky turns to RapidDeploy, AT&T for statewide 911 mapping, analytics
Public-safety answering points (PSAPs) in the state of Kentucky soon will have the opportunity to leverage cloud-native RapidDeploy mapping and analytics solutions through a statewide deal with AT&T that is designed to help improve response times to emergency calls.
RapidDeploy CEO Steve Raucher said the Kentucky announcement represents the fifth statewide deal for his company’s 911 technology offerings, after previous announcements from the states of the California, Arizona, Kansas and Minnesota—most through the RapidDeploy’s relationship with AT&T. In the case of Kentucky, 911 call centers will have the capability of using RapidDeploy’s RadiusPlus mapping and Eclipse Analytics platforms, which can be fully integrated into existing 911 systems.
“Our analytics can monitor misroutes, cell-sector traffic, call-answer time and staffing levels,” Raucher said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “We built something that’s never been done before. In near real time, a state 911 director can see the efficacy of their entire 911 system right across their network, and it’s delivered in a browser—there’s no software to install. We use our patented Emergency Data Gateway, our IoT appliance that can consume all of the on-prem signals and then assimilate and display them on a statewide level.
“With the expectation of a huge amount of government money and an influx of grants in the marketplace, nothing is more important now than to be able to determine the efficacy of a 911 system as a statewide leader. Eclipse Analytics puts the power and the information in the state’s hands, in order to make the best decisions on how to improve its services.”
Stacy Schwartz, AT&T’s vice president for global public safety and FirstNet solutions, cited the importance of the AT&T’s partnership with RapidDeploy as the carrier helps 911 call centers make the transition to IP-based next-generation 911(NG911) technologies.
“We are—by our and others’ estimates—the market leader in providing next-generation 911 services, in terms of the total number of systems deployed,” Schwartz said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “We’re not resting on that. We continue to want to push new capabilities to all of the public-safety community as we continue to progress and grow.
“A critical aspect of that is our relationship with RapidDeploy and what we’ve been able to provide to the state of Kentucky—cloud-enablement, the ability to use analytics, location services, and sort of the redundancy aspect of working with RapidDeploy just strengthens the net that next-generation 911 provides to the community.”
Josiah Keats, chair of the Kentucky 911 Services Board, said the agreement with AT&T and RapidDeploy should be beneficial—and affordable—to all PSAPs in Kentucky that want to leverage the mapping and analytics solutions, which are designed to provide key NG911 functionalities while call centers continue to operate in legacy 911 environments.
“The ultimate goal of NextGen 911 is to increase caller location accuracy and reduce response time when a citizen of the commonwealth needs emergency services—which will ultimately save lives,” Keats said in a prepared statement. “These products, which will be offered at no cost to all certified 911 call centers in Kentucky, will lay a solid foundation for statewide Next Generation 911 deployment.”
Schwartz cited a significant perception change within the 911 community toward the notion of cloud-based solutions like RapidDeploy’s RadiusPlus Mapping and Eclipse Analytics offerings. Just a few years ago, virtually all 911 directors were adamant that operational solutions be hosted within the 911 call center, or on-premise, but many now are embracing the flexibility, efficiency and resiliency that can be realized with cloud-hosted technologies, she said.
“I think having the flexibility and agility to use the cloud … I would argue that, in some instances, it creates a greater sense of resiliency than even imagined,” Schwartz said. “Even before [the pandemic], the concern was resiliency while moving from a hardware-based solution to more of a software-based solution. Now, I think it’s more of a hybrid approach.
“Conditions like pandemics and other disasters have educated us all on the need for having that agility and flexibility as being critical. We suffered a bombing at one of our facilities. Having cloud capability and having that flexibility, I think everyone understands how that is a great option, especially as it relates to 911.”
While RapidDeploy products provide a glimpse into the NG911 while call centers utilize legacy 911 technology, Schwartz emphasized that AT&T believes RapidDeploy should be viewed as an augmentation to the 911 environment, not a substitution for the need for NG911 upgrades across the country.
Raucher agreed and noted that RapidDeploy solutions should continue to play a key role in 911 centers even after NG911 is implemented.
The fact is that we have built a solution that sort of leapfrogs certain elements of the next-gen-911 rollout, but it certainly does not get replaced when the next-gen-911 is completed,” Raucher said. “We are already integrating with next-gen core services across America, and we will be going live in California very shortly with text to 911.”
In the meantime, RapidDeploy will continue to develop and deploy solutions that will let 911 centers some of the key benefits of NG911—for instance, improved caller-location accuracy—in a manner that is designed to simplify PSAP operations, according to Raucher.
“Here’s the crucial part: Our map is totally integrated into the 911 call system,” Raucher said. “We integrate that directly into the CPE—there’s no swivel-chair networking. The people looking at the map are seeing their calls presented in real time, and there’s no typing in of additional information from another screen.”
This approach seems to be resonating in the 911 community, particularly in the case of the RadiusPlus Mapping solution, according to Raucher.
“RapidDeploy’s RadiusPlus map has a 100% win rate in RFPs,” he said. “It’s never lost a competitive bid.”
Both Raucher and Schwartz indicated that more 911-related news from the companies’ relationship could be announced in the near future.