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E911 on Campus New Challenges, New Opportunities


TMCnews Featured Article

April 23, 2009

E911 on Campus New Challenges, New Opportunities

By Greg Galitzine, Group Editorial Director

With the increased deployment of IP communications in many campus environments, campus administrators are faced with new challenges when it comes to deploying Enhanced 911 (E911) solutions and being able to reach out and notify students and faculty in a timely and effective manner in the event of an emergency.

Among the benefits of IP communications, an emergency notification system integrated with an IP-based phone system can support multiple, nomadic devices and a diverse set of methods to notify students and faculty of an emergency situation, be it via text messaging, calls to a cell phone, calls or messages to a VoIP phone, use of a public address system, e-mail, etc… The beauty of IP is that it becomes a relatively simple task to set up and initiate emergency notifications.
However, the very nature of IP communications, especially in a blended environment of old and new communications infrastructure poses additional challenges, particularly with the addition of nomadic IP phones that can be moved about the campus network. Any emergency notification system deployment requires new levels of planning, and when it comes to management capabilities, these solutions must be able to utilize location information from both traditional PBX (News - Alert) systems as well as IP call managers.
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) was recently faced with deploying a next-generation E911 system while migrating from traditional Centrex services to an IP communications system.
VCU needed to maintain a reliable campus emergency response system that provided on-campus and public responders real-time caller location identification with E911, in addition to a notification plan. The University deployed an Avaya IP Telephony system featuring RedSky (News - Alert) Technologies’ E911 Manager. The RedSky solution integrates with the campus phone system to automatically capture location changes for all types of phones and update downstream databases on a regular basis.
The VCU implementation team took care to ensure to address the issue of location tracking in their new environment and proactively took the necessary steps to ensure ongoing safety and security for their campus without the mandate of legislation. The E911 solution they chose automatically tracks the location of all phones, updates the proper databases and notifies designated public safety officials without placing additional burden on the administrative team.
By deploying the RedSky E911 solution, VCU is also able to comply with current government legislation mandating that organizations who operate a PBX or multi-line telephone system must implement E911.
To learn more, please download the case study that RedSky has recently published detailing the VCU E911 deployment.

Greg Galitzine is editorial director for TMC’s (News - Alert) IP Communications suite of products, including To read more of Greg’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Greg Galitzine

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