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IVR - 'Hello 911? Here's A Picture of the Guy'
September 10, 2011

'Hello 911? Here's A Picture of the Guy'

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

From the blog “IVR Deconstructed,” comes the observation that the efficacy of emergency response systems are heavily dependent on an individual’s location.

No arguing with that. Now if you’re using interactive voice response as part of an emergency alert systems, as the blog says, you need to “understand how emergency can integrate with IVR and how technology is changing how emergency services function as a whole.”

And it’s all the more important since recently the Federal Communications Committee said they’ll be updating their technology to accommodate different types of communication emergency services.  

The way it has been, 911 response systems could process incoming phone calls, and that was it. Now, they’ll be able to handle “text messages, voice calls, videos and photos, as well as enable automatic location information for users calling in to 911.”

“Photos?” It would be an interesting situation where a photo would be transmitted as part of a 911 call. But we suppose anything’s possible -- maybe someone unable to speak could just take a picture of a street sign and send it to the 911 center.

“Enabling users to send texts, videos and photos can be helpful in giving emergency response teams a clearer picture of situations so that they may be more prepared upon arrival at the scene,” the blog says, and upon reflection it seems that yes, that would be the case.  

In fact, the more we think about it, the better an idea it seems. Take a picture of the fire, or the getaway car, or the mugger himself -- “Smile!”

The project is called Next Generation 911, IVR Deconstructed says, explaining that it  “will follow a five-step implementation plan over the coming months and years,” including “developing location accuracy mechanisms and integrating technology into emergency systems that will allow for the sending of texts, photos and videos to answer points.”

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.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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