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GCN : August 2013
Durham, N.C., is one of the first few jurisdictions in the country to move its 911 emergency call cen- ter operations to the cloud, open- ing the way for launching a full range of IP-based Next Genera- tion 911 services as they become available. At the front end, where the op- erators take the emergency calls, things have changed very little so far. "It's the same screen they have always looked at" when an- swering a call, said Emergency Communications Center director James Soukup. "It's transparent to them, except that they say the calls are clearer now." The shift is an early step to- ward realizing the Federal Com- munication Commission's goal of incorporating the full capabilities of mobile phones and other In- ternet-enabled devices in public emergency communications sys- tems under its NG911 initiative. "There is a major push by the FCC for centers to be able to re- ceive text messages," Soukup said. That capability is just get- ting started, and Durham's was the first Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) to test text-to-911 technology with Verizon Wire- less. "That is now permanent for us," he said. "We wanted to set the stage to go beyond that, to be able to receive pictures, video and other data as soon as it be- comes available from carriers." Moving 911 call centers to the cloud is an early step toward the goal of using the full power of mobile phones and IP in the nation's emergency communications system. NEXT STEPS IN MAKING TEXT-TO-911 A REALITY BY WILLIAM JACKSON 22 GCN AUGUST 2013 • GCN.COM WHICH STATES ARE USING IP-ENABLED 911 SERVICES? Used by the state Used by state jurisdictions Vermont, the Reno metro Area in Nevada, and Durham, North Carolina, have moved all 911 operations to the Intrado cloud. HI TX CA NV UT WA MI FL NC VA PA OH VT