As mobile consumers, we are enamored with apps. We want multiple apps for music, connecting with friends, managing photos and more. Believe it or not, there’s even an app – several actually – for E911 hosted solutions. Are these apps a good idea and do they lend value in the wake of an emergency?
These questions were explored in this Avaya (News - Alert) blog as Mark Fletcher explored the available E911 hosted solutions apps. Why do we even need an app for 911 calling when we know we can easily reach an emergency operator with just a quick dial of these three numbers on the telephone? The reality is that we are using telephony less and less for communications and we do need the capability on our mobile devices to connect with emergency services.
The number of cellular-originated E911 calls is staggering, according to Fletcher. In some cities, the ratio of cellular to landline calls is estimated as high as 70 percent. A recent CTIA (News - Alert) report found that 296,000 cellular calls were made per day to 911 in 2010, or just over 108 million for the year. When you also consider that 40 percent of cellular phones deployed today are smartphones, according to a Nielsen report, there is a need for E911 apps.
These statistics suggest a need for a new breed of applications, such as those making their way into the market. These apps are not designed to replace E911 hosted solutions or simple 911 calls. Instead, the latest applications are designed to enhance the data that a 911 caller can provide. Through a parallel communication path, public safety has access to important data to respond to an emergency call. If this data is not available, the same level of functionality already enabled with standard 911 calls is still available.
In the past, enterprise users have had to pay LEC monthly tariffs, in addition to their standard fees, that allowed for the storage of data or to send station or zone level caller ID to 911 call takers – the same data enabled with E911 hosted solutions. Carriers are also offering services such as ShareWith911 and Smart911 that ensure the transfer of information and other data that should already be supported with E911 hosted solutions. With the adoption among public safety officials, this could easily present a revenue possibility for carriers, even though such services are available elsewhere for free.
As new ideas and technologies to support E911 hosted solutions continue to emerge, users in the consumer space, as well as the enterprise, will have access to enhanced capabilities that will fundamentally change the way first responders gather data and react to an emergency situation. With the right technologies in place for the caller, these changes could help to save lives.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Tammy Wolf