The expansion of ever faster network infrastructure combined with technologies such as VoIP, SIP trunking, and unified communications has enabled a revolution in the way people work. Employees don’t just work at offices; they work from home, they work on the way to work, they work on the road, they work from planes.
This has resulted in an undeniable rise in productivity and collaboration, but it also complicates a very important part of modern life: 911 services. This is why Enhanced 911 (E911) implementation is such an important element in any mobile workforce.
What is E911?
E911 is a way of providing emergency services with enhanced location information automatically. This extra information might include specifics such as what floor and/or room someone is in within a large office building, or it might include GPS coordinates for those who are en route between addressed locations.
This might seem a trivial issue at first glance, but it isn’t. That extra bit of information really can be the difference between life and death. In the old days, when everyone used a desk phone from a fixed location, finding out where an emergency call originated from was fairly straightforward. In our modern, mobile world, a call from a particular phone could be coming from almost anywhere, and the ability of traditional 911 operators to track a cell phone’s location is limited to finding out what cell tower the call is being routed through. That simply isn’t good enough, and many states have already passed legislation requiring E911 coverage in some situations.
Know the Law
There are currently 18 states that have passed E911 laws affecting businesses with more than a certain number of employees. The details are different from state to state, but for the most part any building over 7,000 square feet or with more than one floor needs to be divided into various emergency response sectors. This information has to be programmed into the communications system, whether it’s a traditional MPLS or UC system.
The mobile phone network doesn’t natively track or transmit specific location information for the obvious reason of privacy. Most VoIP and UC solutions treat all connections the same regardless of their place of origin, which is one of UC’s great strengths. Add to that the fact that many 911 systems were set up more than 40 years ago and haven’t been updated much since then, and it becomes easier to understand why E911 services are such a good idea.
Providing a way for emergency services to find mobile employees in case of an emergency is an absolute must in today’s mobile business environment. Contact us to learn more about your state’s specific requirements and how to implement E911 services within your current system.