Cloud PBX

Voip: The Future of Emergency Communications

The Canadian government has declared that 911 as we know it will soon go through a significant digital transformation for VoIP users. Due to the plethora of features which voice over internet protocol (VoIP) already has to offer, it is already a popular communication tool among Canadian businesses. The moving of emergency communications from analog to internet based is yet another reason why VoIP is considered so essential. This new technology has been coined “Next Generation 911”, or “NG911” for short. As of March 1st, 2022 all telecommunication providers have been directed to update their networks to prepare for Next Generation 911.

Given the list of added benefits to public security and safety, the decision to make this change was a straightforward one to make. This is a textbook example of the Canadian government making the best use of recent technological advancements. So what exactly does Next Generation 911 bring to the table? Well first off, public safety answering points (PSAPs) are the emergency response telecommunication centers which receive emergency calls from citizens and dispatch emergency services accordingly. Historically, they deal primarily with basic analog 911 calls. In fact, Canada adopted the 911 system of emergency communication in 1972, with the first city to implement this system being London, Ontario. Currently however, the majority of these centers are equipped to operate using enhanced 911 telecommunication (or E911 for short). This system adds caller ID and automatically identifies the address or location of the caller. This is probably what that comes to mind when you think of the type of information which 911 operators have access to. E911 is relatively young considering it was introduced in 2010. Within Canada, the areas which haven’t upgraded beyond the basic 911 system are Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, and Northwest Territories. The only area where 911 is simply not available is Nunavut, where instead emergency services are contacted via a normal telephone number.

Next Generation 911 takes emergency communications a step further by utilizing an internet based solution and enabling the transmission of photos, videos, and text messaging. Furthermore, more accurate data regarding a caller’s location is also provided to the PSAPs. These additional features are of significant value in the interaction between operators and citizens in distress. Especially in time sensitive situations, a picture can be worth a thousand words. The additional information which real-time pictures and video provide to emergency operators can lead to a better understanding of the situation, and more detailed instruction on what the best plan of action is. Furthermore, in instances where it may not be safe for someone to audibly speak to an operator, texts can be sent as an alternative to calling in order to request emergency services. Therefore, those who have Next Generation 911 systems available to them have additional support when dealing with emergencies. 

It is clear that telecommunications is headed away from the traditional phone systems reliant on physical landlines and instead towards VoIP. Telecom Metric Inc. is teaming up with various private telecom companies as well as with various Police forces across Canada to develop a proof of concept to be approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. We understand the role VoIP has to play with improving emergency communications and we are dedicated to making a difference. 

If you’re interested in speaking with a telecommunication professional about further details of Next Generation 911, cyber security, or more, then please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

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