NG911: The Future of 9-1-1 Communications

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Monday, August 17, 2015

The future of 9-1-1 communications is changing. The things that worked in the past have been sufficient but thanks to innovation and technology, there are now new opportunities to enhance the dynamic between the person reporting a public safety incident and the responder mediating the conversation. Cell phones and wireless connectivity are shaping up to be great contributors to the next generation of 9-1-1 operations.

911-communications-2While it may not be extremely evident yet, the incorporation of these new technologies in 9-1-1 responding has been evolving as peoples’ wireless usage changes. Next Generation 911 (NG911), will be a primary contributor to the new landscape of emergency reporting and response. Next Generation 9-1-1 pushes for the incorporation of wireless communication solutions to enhance public safety operations.

Involved Technology

The rise of cell phone and internet usage has proven to be rather beneficial to 9-1-1 call stations and emergency responders. Providing individuals with new ways of communicating in emergency situations can reduce response time, making communities safer.

Ideally, next generation 9-1-1 will be able to support SMS text messaging as well as MMS picture and video messaging. Having the capability to send a message from a mobile device can save a life thanks to its discrete, not disruptive nature.

Since most mobile phones can access wireless networks, either one provided by the carrier or local WiFi connections, next generation 9-1-1 makes sense. The internet is usually a fast and stable way of communicating information, which can be advantageous for NG911 as a medium to receive updates and additional information to properly and quickly respond to the situation.

Perks of NG911 Systems

Beyond the immediacy of mobile messaging, next generation 911 has several other advantages:

  • Fewer delays and shorter wait time of responders' arrival to the incident

  • Visible content can help describe and explain the situation

  • More considerate of individuals that may have difficulty speaking or hearing

Having a more user friendly and widely accessible system can make communities safer by making response efforts more coordinated and efficient.

The technology for the next generation of 9-1-1 communication exists and it is actually used daily, but there is currently a disconnect restricting the integration of new service in emergency reporting. This makes it unclear as to when the system will be fully functional and ready for public use. Whenever NG911 is ready to be incorporated into daily and mainstream use, everyone will surely benefit from the service.

For more information about next generation 9-1-1 or general questions about communication solutions, contact Chicago Communication today!

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Topics: Public Safety Communications, Next Generation Public Safety, Safety Solutions