The first 911 call was made over 40 years ago on February 16, 1968, meaning 911 is 44 years old this year. Obviously, today, that basic service is widely used, with more than 240 million 911 calls made each year in the U.S., according to the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). Of those, more than 25 million are made from multi line telephone systems (MLTS) commonly used in businesses, schools and government facilities.
Unfortunately, according to NENA, as well as Avaya (News - Alert) and California PUC, about 70 percent of these businesses, schools and government facilities need at least some level of remediation in terms of their E911 (enhanced 911) readiness. As such, Avaya recently pointed out that the next generation beyond even E911, appropriately called NG911 (next generation 911), is fast approaching as the new standard.
Indeed, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, signed in February, features the Next Generation 911 Advancement Act, which makes funds available specifically for the design and delivery of NG911. The FCC (News - Alert) also inquired into the possibility of delivery location information through NG911 with MLTS systems, which Avaya confirmed is entirely possible.
NG911 obviously needs to bring a whole lot more to the table than vanilla 911 or even E911, including voice, SMS, text, video, data , e-mail and IM. More importantly, it should offer superior location capabilities than a static address via geo-spatial information, which can provide X, Y and Z information, making it possible to even pinpoint the floor a 911 call came from in high-rise buildings. An advanced IP network, meanwhile could free 911 from a local reach.
However, the road to upgrading to NG911 for MLTS systems does contain a few roadblocks. Buildings using MLTS or PBX (News - Alert) systems can help overcome these obstacles by implementing internal location granularity, for example, making it easier for emergency responders to find an individual. It gets more complicated but, fortunately, Avaya uploaded a detailed video to YouTube (News - Alert) outlining the whole situation.
Avaya was one of the first to the NG911 party, having announced its enhanced NG911 solutions way back in 2009 and teaming up with Texas A&M University to develop a national NG911 communications network in 2011.