Using the Cloud
Finding ways to improve response times
- By Nicholas Maier
- Oct 01, 2017
Today, cloud applications are all the rage and for good reason.
The cloud allows us to work and play in ways that are
so much more productive and engaging. The cloud also
removes the burden of deploying and managing complex
enterprise applications within the business.
Let’s look at how the cloud is revolutionizing emergency response.
The government created a nationwide emergency call system,
known as the 911 system, in 1968. It provided the incentives for the
existing monopoly carriers to adopt a national 911 system and as
a result the technology architecture adopted in 1968 has survived
in its current form to this day, although it has been modified and
added to in order to support cell phone 911, VoIP and SIP.
A New Standard
The legacy architecture cannot be adapted to support the most meaningful
enhancements to emergency response. Features like text 911,
video streaming of 911 events, dynamic geo-spatial routing of 911
calls require a new architecture and that architecture, the NENA i3
standard, is where we are heading.
Several of the key elements of the NENA i3 architecture have already
been put in place and are in use today to provide 911 emergency
response. While these elements interface with legacy 911 networks,
they live in the cloud and they point the way to a fully cloud
based national 911 system.
Here are a few of the elements of the NENA i3 architecture that
are already deployed:
- Location aware phones. The newest phones from Polycom, Skype,
Broadsoft and Yealink request a location object when they register
on the network. They store this location object, called PIDFLO,
and, if the phone makes a 911 call, the PIDF-LO is sent in the
SIP signaling stream.
- SIP trunking and SIP communications. Many enterprises have
made the transition to SIP trunking, saving themselves thousands
of dollars a month due to the dynamic bandwidth allocation supported
by SIP. The NENA i3 architecture runs on the SIP protocol
and SIP communications over SIP trunks or over the Internet is
- Dynamic 911 call routing. 911 calls can now be routed by cloudbased
applications to any 911 center in the USA and Canada.
(over 5000 Public Safety Answering Points). The call can be routed in real-time to the right 911 center
and the location of the call dynamically
inserted into a database so the location
of the caller appears on the emergency
- Geo-routing of 911 calls. Geo-coordinates
an now be used to establish user
location and route 911 calls to the right
911 center for the caller.
The movement toward “anytime, anywhere”
communications requires technology
that provides “real-time” location provisioning
with the scalability of internet cloud
computing. Fortunately, the NENA i3 architecture
leverages SIP and the Internet for an
immensely scalable solution.
Improving the Response
Let’s look at some of the features that the
cloud can deliver today as services to help
improve your emergency response. We identified
above that Dynamic call routing is
available so that a 911 call can be sent to any
of the 911 centers in the USA and Canada.
If you are a distributed enterprise with hundreds
or thousands of offices nationwide, all
connected on the same enterprise voice network,
the cloud solves a huge issue for you.
You can eliminate all your local trunks and
connections to send out 911 calls locally and
send all your calls to one point, the cloud,
where the call will be routed to the right 911
center based on the location of the caller.
You’ve simplified your network and accrued
cost savings all in one stroke.
But now that all your 911 calls are being
sent to cloud, what else can you do? As soon
as a 911 call arrives at the cloud, you or anyone
in your enterprise can be notified by SMS,
email or screen pop that an emergency call is
in progress with the location of the caller. You
can record all emergency calls and save them
for archive purposes or you can have your internal
security personnel listen into the call
or barge into the call in order to coordinate
internal resources and speed response. The
cloud enables a multi-level threat notification
system so the appropriate notifications can be
sent to all levels of the organization as appropriate
so that situation awareness is improved
throughout the organization.
The cloud enables intelligent routing of
911 calls based on where the call is coming
from. If you have your own internal security
personnel that take 911 calls from a specific
location, the cloud can intelligently route all
calls that come from a specific location to
emergency responders responsible for that
The cloud is an asset for mobile workers
who might dial 911 on their UC client because
it allows their location to be known
even if they take their UC client home or on
the road. Android and iOS apps are available
that can determine the user’s location outside
the enterprise and if they dial 911, the call is
routed based on their location.
It is hard to beat the cloud for ease of
implementation and ease of use. It is very
straight-forward and cost effective to route
your calls to the cloud. You manage your services
via an easy to use web portal. You can
purchase most services on a monthly or annual
contract basis and there is no equipment
to buy, install and maintain on your premise.
The cloud can dramatically improve your
emergency response profile for 911 calls. You
gain real-time location tracking, dynamic
call routing based on location, and multilevel
911 call notification capability. These
features are available now and enterprises
from the smallest to the largest can benefit
from cost effective cloud solutions. If you
are moving or have moved to IP telephony
(H.323 or SIP) or UC communications, you
can solve mobility issues and distributed network
issues easily with the cloud.
The network is changing rapidly and new
services and features are becoming available
every month. If you are looking to improve
your emergency response profile and provide
better service to your community, the cloud
may have your answers.
This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Security Today.