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IVR - Next Generation 911 Offers IVR Integration to Improve Services
August 15, 2011

Next Generation 911 Offers IVR Integration to Improve Services

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

When you think of emergency response, you don’t likely think ofInteractive Voice Response (IVR), but perhaps you should. IVR applications can function as emergency alert systems. For organizations that leverage IVR, it is important to understand how this technology can be integrated with emergency services to change how they function overall.

This concept was explored in a recent Plum Voice blog. A recent announcement by the Federal Communications Committee (FCC (News - Alert)) on plans to update technology to accommodate different types of communication emergency services is good news for those already leveraging IVR capabilities.

In the past, 911 response systems were designed to only process incoming phone calls. The new plan, by contrast, will allow for the transmission of text messages, videos, photos, voice calls and more. The new system will also enable the automatic location information capture on individuals calling 911.

The increased options for contacting 911 are expected to improve life-saving services by shaving off valuable minutes in the emergency contact process. First responders will be able to reach a destination and begin providing assistance more quickly than ever before. As users can send videos, photos and texts, emergency response teams will gain a clearer picture of situations so they can be prepared before arriving on the scene.

The implementation of this system – and its ability to work with IVR systems – provides the redundancy assurance needed in emergency communications. If there is a delay in landline telephone transmissions, for instance, or a problem with a mobile network, users can easily make use of other avenues for contacting emergency services.

This project, known as Next Generation 911, will follow a five-step implementation plan over the coming months and years, as the FCC strives to streamline all emergency services and leverage new technologies to save lives. The steps involved will include the development of location accuracy mechanisms and the integration of necessary technology into emergency systems that will allow for the use of multichannel communications.

The FCC is not only responding to the shift in technology trends, but also the call from local emergency responders that they need greater capabilities to improve their services. By enabling augmented accessibility and increased ease of use, local 911 services and responders can improve their approach to saving lives.

Believe it or not, IVR can integrate with this level of multimodal communications. In fact, IVR applications offered by Plum Voice are designed to be both adaptable and flexible. A number of Plum Voice customers already have multimodal application interfaces in place, making it feasible to integrate the Next Generation emergency response system quickly.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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