Why hosted solutions make sense for public safety
What is in this article?
More bang for the buck
A major benefit of hosted solutions is that they are cost effective.
When a PSAP purchases new technology today, it usually involves a large capital expenditure that comes from grants, bonds, state 911 accounts and general funds that are all in a state of decline. Hosted solutions can help alleviate these financial pressures on PSAPs through a pay-as-you-go model. Instead of a huge upfront capital expenditure, PSAPs can pay a smaller, predictable monthly charge to subscribe to the software as a service, so it can be budgeted as an ongoing operating expense.
In addition, many expensive operating factors related to owning equipment — real estate/space, power, cooling, staffing, maintenance, security and backup/disaster recovery—are eliminated, as well as the worry of securing additional funding for routine upgrades.
Finally, shared hosted solutions let PSAPs get more for their money by allowing them to combine purchasing power. Even if a group of PSAPs elects to implement their own self-hosted, private-cloud solution—rather than subscribing to SaaS—simple math dictates that it still will be far more cost effective than if each had purchased the technology individually.
Beyond cost, hosted solutions can provide the following benefits:
Richer functionality, resiliency and data security—Hosted solutions put richer functionality and resiliency within the reach of PSAPs by leveraging economies of scale created by sharing premium software and resilient infrastructure at an affordable price, instead of having to expend large upfront capital investments. Hosted solutions usually incorporate the latest data-security measures that most agencies cannot afford individually.
Rapid deployment and seamless scalability—Because hosted solutions do not require an upfront capital outlay, the purchase process can be streamlined. Hosted solutions also are much quicker to deploy, because no on-site installation of customer-premise equipment is required. Once access rights and credentials are established, the solution can be made available immediately. And, unlike on-premise solutions, hosted solutions scale easily (e.g., to layer on new applications, or add additional users) with minimal or no downtime.
Maintenance and support—Most PSAP technology purchases today come with a separate optional annual maintenance contract; while charges often are assessed for all software and hardware components, maintenance still may require some level of support from in-house IT resources. With hosted solutions, this responsibility and cost is assumed by the vendor.
Easier to change your mind—With a hosted solution, you are only married to your decision for the life of the service provider agreement. If you’re unhappy with a solution, or another service provider comes out with a better portfolio of solutions for a better price, it’s far easier to switch than it would be if you had to replace your on-premise infrastructure. This will be especially true with NG-911, as long as vendors comply with NENA’s i3 standard for interoperability.
Finally, with NG-911, hosted service providers will be able to offer a menu of solutions for PSAPs to choose, from call processing to GIS to workforce management.