By Brian Silverston, vice president of sales for the government of Canada, Avaya
The current 9-1-1 infrastructure that powers emergency calls in Canada won’t work for the digital world. Like all other commercial and government organizations, emergency services must evolve to provide the best possible care. That care includes locating citizens in need with extreme accuracy and communicating with them over digital channels, something that traditional technology simply can’t provide. Next-generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) has emerged as the way forward for emergency communication centers such as public safety answering points (PSAPs), especially as more citizens are using mobile devices to place 9-1-1 calls (79% and growing).
Using NG9-1-1, PSAPs can:
- Accelerate response time with rapid data sharing through system interoperability
- Keep responders safer through better situational awareness
- Improve call processing times with more efficient management of emergency call transfers and call overload
Canadian PSAPs will begin onboarding with the 9-1-1 ILECs in March 2022. The deadline for Canadian PSAPs to move to NG9-1-1 is March 2025, according to the current CRTC9-1-1 timeline. Experience gained through the trials suggests PSAPs should prepare now not only to deal with the new and evolving standards, interfaces, and technologies but the overall impact and change management that NG9-1-1 will have on these organizations.
Since its inception, 9-1-1 services in Canada have seen minimal change. That all changes with NG9-1-1, which will see an evolution of services for years to come. It will begin with voice and basic location information. Then, we will see new modalities (text, video, rich media), enhanced information about the call, caller, and location, more robust security, improved integrations throughout the ecosystem, and the automation of intra-PSAP and inter-agency workflows.
How to Prepare for the NG9-1-1 Transition in Canada With Avaya
Bell, TELUS, and SaskTel, who deliver all E9-1-1 services in Canada, must decommission their E9-1-1 networks by March 2025. Once that happens, there is no going back, and it is the end of E9-1-1 services. To avoid any disruption to emergency services through this transition, PSAPs should set up, integrate, test, and operationalize NG9-1-1 as soon as possible9-1-1. It is highly recommended that PSAPs migrate off legacy systems, implement and adhere to strategic technology plans, and fully embrace digital technologies by March of 2024.
That timeframe is doable with the right partner. Avaya has a long history of working with PSAPs and NG9-1-1 specialists in Canada, including telecom service providers. We’re active participants and contributors to Canada’s Emergency Services Working Group (ESWG) and have been closely involved with them to address 9-1-1-related provisioning issues, including the more technical requirements of NG9-1-1. With our history, expertise, and experience in Canada’s emergency services industry, PSAPs are in good hands when making this transition.
Avaya also has an essential partnership with Komutel – the leading developer of 9-1-1 communication solutions explicitly developed for Canadian requirements – that underscores our position in NG9-1-1. Avaya has a global reputation in next-generation Avaya OneCloud contact center and collaboration solutions, while Komutel is the industry leader in 9-1-1 desktop solutions. The partnership combines our highly resilient communications technology for mission-critical operations in public safety, government, and healthcare sectors with Komutel’s fit-for-purpose 9-1-1 solutions that address the call taker and dispatcher desktop (9-1-1 and non-9-1-1), voice logging, radio, and CAD integration, 9-1-1 reporting, unanswered call management, interface to the 9-1-1 network, and automation for industry-specific workflows.
Canadian PSAPs can leverage this highly agile and tightly integrated platform to digitally transform by growing and meeting new operational requirements. In addition, it enables PSAPs to address a number of use cases at a lower cost and TCO, including:
- NG9-1-1 for emergency response
- Omnichannel communications with citizens for non-emergency situations
- Unified communications to support a mobile workforce and administrative needs
How Avaya and Komutel Are Empowering Canadian PSAPs
Many PSAPs are already well on their way to NG9-1-1 with our help. The Avaya-Komutel partnership supports the largest number of Canadian PSAPs and has seen through these significant achievements:
- We made history by conducting the first NG9-1-1 test call in Canada using commercial software in 2019.
- The Ontario Provincial Police successfully conducted the first NG9-1-1 test call transfer in Canada in July 2020. With Avaya’s off-the-shelf solution, the department completed the call originating in the Bell Canada Emergency Services IP network to the OPP General Headquarters in Orillia. From there the call was transferred to a PSAP in Quebec, representing one of the biggest achievements in Canada’s NG9-1-1 transition at that time.
- In January 2021, we provided the Ontario Ministry of Health with a state-of-the-art NG9-1-1 Call Handling Functional Element, which is helping them seamlessly transition their 20+ Central Ambulance Communication Centers (CaCCs), 1000+ telephone lines, and 200+ operator positions.
Avaya’s expertise and partnerships allow PSAPs to minimize as much risk and disruption as possible while adhering to the CRTC’s timeline. In addition, we can provide a customized transition plan that addresses the needs of your unique province so you can provide the best emergency service with next-generation technology. Learn more about Avaya’s NG9-1-1 solutions for Canada from my chat with ChannelBuzz.