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Catalyst Telecom Raises Profile of RedSky E911 Solutions


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October 21, 2009

Catalyst Telecom Raises Profile of RedSky E911 Solutions

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

Life- and property-saving products and services from a Chicago-based provider of enhanced 911 solutions are now being offered by one prominent distributor of voice, video and data equipment to the reseller community.
RedSky Technologies’ E911 solutions leverage location-based technology to pinpoint the location of distressed 9-1-1 callers – a must-have for corporate decision-makers, as more and more businesses that face rapidly adopted state legislation that mandates E911.

Now, Catalyst Telecom, a sales unit of Greenvile, S.C.-based ScanSource, Inc., has added RedSky (News - Alert) to its line card.
According to Nick Maier, senior vice president at RedSky, while E911 is required by law in many states, it’s an important component of any enterprise voice solution because it saves lives.
“We’re pleased to join forces with Catalyst Telecom (News - Alert) and their reseller partners to help bring this critical solution to market,” said Maier, pictured left.
Experts seem to agree with Maier’s characterization.
As one expert on occupational safety and health said during a recent Webinar, organizations that lack enhanced 911 systems for emergency communications run the risk of exposing themselves to serious fines and law suits.
According to Mark Lies, a partner at Chicago law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP who is an expert in Occupational Safety and Health Administration law, OSHA could leverage a general regulation to cite employers and issue penalties that range from $7,000 to $70,000 per day for organizations that fail to have employee protections such as those provided by E911. E911 uses location-based technology to determine the whereabouts of distressed callers, helping emergency responders locate them and potentially saving lives and property.
“There have not been specific citations yet under the General Duty Clause, but this is a very dynamic area,” Lies said. “You are probably aware that there have been many pronouncements under federal OSHA that they’re going to become much more aggressive. The Democratic administration does not believe that under the last eight years of the Bush administration, that there has been aggressive enforcement of the OSHA laws, and in fact there are proposals under OSHA law to include criminal liability as well as civil.”
Fifteen U.S. states already have E911 laws on their books. Lies encouraged employers to look at the statutes that apply to their states and what kinds of fines or penalties may be assessed against organizations that are out of compliance.
Yet even in the “other” 35 states that have no E911 law, OSHA requires a written “Emergency Action Plan” that includes, among other things, a plan for evacuation in case of an emergency.
“It is entirely conceivable that using existing regulations, OSHA could issue citations,” Lies said. “The General Duty Clause is a much more real potential liability area. If OSHA does not have a specific regulation that’s been promulgated and issued, but there is a recognized hazard to safety or health that’s likely to cause serious injury or death to an employee, they can issue citations to employers for failure to have a protective device or procedure in effect.”
Experts long have warned that it’s not only states with legislation that decision-makers need to be concerned about. Take, for example, the case of an enterprise whose offices are spread out into different areas. If there’s an accident in another state and the organization didn’t provide E911 equally across all locations, that raises serious liability issues.
Now, through Catalyst Telecom’s reseller partners, more and more companies will have access to RedSky’s innovative E911 solutions, widely praised by companies such as Avaya (News - Alert).
RedSky’s solutions can track phone locations for on-premise users, as well as mobile users with softphones or VPN connectivity, send real-time notifications of all 911 calls made and connect a 911 call anywhere in the United States, while providing comprehensive location information for emergency responders.
Bruce Meyer (News - Alert), vice president of merchandising at Catalyst Telecom, said the need for enhanced 911 capabilities “is critical for all enterprises.”
“RedSky’s solutions easily integrate with our Avaya voice solutions, allowing our reseller customers to provide an enhanced level of service – and security – to their end-user customers,” he said.

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

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