Decision-makers considering an upgrade in their communications, such as a migration to IP telephony, ask themselves dozens of questions as they sift through applications – responses to “RFPs,” or “requests for proposals” – from companies seeking to meet their infrastructure needs.
Top among them: Will this solution integrate with my service provider network? How tight is that integration? Does it improve business applications? Does it support a multi-vendor environment?
Recently, Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Avaya (News
) – a communications provider for enterprises of all sizes – responded to and won the RFP competition at VoiceCon Orlando to install a VoIP system at a client’s new main facility and three remote locations: regional, branch and satellite offices. The IP telephony system, or “IPTS,” was required to support 2,000 station users, as well as to accommodate a 50 percent growth in call processing and port capacity parameters.
What Avaya faced was a big job, and one critical component of the job was to support so-called “enhanced 911,” or “E911” services provided by a public safety answering point, or “PSAP.” E911 is a technology that uses location-based services to pinpoint where distressed callers are when they contact emergency services providers – helping those responders locate distressed parties faster.
In this case, all IPTS station user E911 calls had to be directed to a local PSAP for call handling, regardless of their original location.
Avaya, in its RFP, said it would work with Chicago-based E911 provider RedSky Technologies
to meet its client’s strict requirements – supporting E911 for all user stations (analog as well as IP) and in all geographic locations. Specifically, that means servicing PSAP boundaries for each coverage area in the design for the client.
Here’s how Allan Sulkin of the TEQConsult Group
, the consultant who issued the RFP and determined Avaya’s winning response, characterized the role that RedSky (News
) played in earning the contract: “It was Avaya’s overall response that was considered the best RFP submission, but without the RedSky option the Avaya proposal would have some E911 gaps based on the RFP requirements.”
With RedSky’s solution – a tailored version of the E911 solution provider’s “E911 Manager” – all 911 calls from each client location are routed to the correct PSAP, providing emergency services for that location.
The RedSky solution also ensured that E911 calls from mobile communications devices – such as WiFi (News
) handsets (a challenge in the industry, since handsets are carried from wireless access point to wireless access point, so location data must be updated in real time in order to keep track of the user’s whereabouts) – were handled correctly.
“802.11 handset endpoints on the campus wireless network will update their locations automatically via the RedSky Network Discover application,” Avaya officials said on their RFP. “The Avaya PC-based soft phones will self-provision using the same method on campus. Avaya soft phones off campus and/or those that may be utilizing a VPN for voice connectivity back to any core will use the optional RedSky Soft Phone Location Determination Application for manual location provisioning.”
Other client requirements that RedSky was able to meet included:
- Reporting analog and IP desktop station user moves, adds and changes to the PSAP;
- Providing a high degree of specific calling station user location information to the E911 PSAP; and
- Routing E911 calls to an internal security desk, in addition to the PSAP.
Another critical component of the E911 solution was updating the PSAP databases, since enhanced 911 systems rely on location records stored there.
“With RedSky’s E911 Manager,” Avaya officials said in their RFP, “telecom administrators can manage station location information right in the Avaya Communications Manager as part of their daily process for administering enterprise communications. E911 Manager automatically interfaces with all call servers and switches on the network to detect phone moves, adds and changes.”
In summary, Avaya said: “RedSky’s E911 Manager has the flexibility to update 911 service providers at a frequency determined by VoiceCon and the availability of the Service Providers provisioning SLAs.”
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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan