ESInet + i3 call handling does NOT equal NG9-1-1/NG1-1-2

LinkedIn Post by Jim Crichton on December 2, 2020

NENA i3-compliant, next-generation 9-1-1 is an end-to-end call delivery system. Having all the functional elements is the goal.

My 45-years in public safety and sales began as a dispatcher with a sheriff’s office in Michigan. This single position included answering calls from a multi-line, rotary dialed seven-digit phone, pen and paper, and managing public safety response for Police-Fire-EMS agencies while using multiple VHF radio mics for all these services. No CAD or mapping, just a typed log of the events with self-generated incident numbers. It’s been rewarding to witness the evolving technology for public safety 9-1-1 communications, along with the benefits that technology has brought public safety from the intake of the call to the public safety response.

“One Nation, One Number"

It’s well known in the industry that the first 9-1-1 call was made in Haleyville Alabama. This basic 9-1-1 call revolutionized and started the roadmap to where 9-1-1 services are today. “One Nation, One Number” was the catalyst that standardized public awareness to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency, and as technology evolved, modern-day public safety response benefited greatly as a service to the community for public safety response. Simultaneous integrated response occurs from the time of answering a call to prompting the appropriate public safety response. However increased challenges evolving technology, and public expectations have shown the system to be outdated.

The importance of “location, location” has increased immensely due to the proliferation of wireless callers and stagnant location information. In the past, wireless calls impacted the system, representing 25% of incoming 9-1-1 calls. Today, most agencies are receiving over 80% from wireless devices. However, it does not stop there.

Any device, anywhere, anytime. That’s the challenge …

NENA i3 standards established a roadmap with the goal of having a true NG9-1-1 call routing system using GIS spatial routing attributes. Legacy E9-1-1 systems are based on a tabular resource provided by the agencies' Master Street Address Guide (MSAG) and scrubbed against the incoming ANI/ALI call records. Selective routers receive 9-1-1 calls from a central office and deliver them to the appropriate PSAP. Wireless caller location relies on a carrier-provided method (Phases I and II) of coordinates based on multiple towers that triangulate the caller’s location. Again, this technology was enough at the time, and served as a transitional bandage.

NG9-1-1 end to end - No more bandages

Throughout the country, agencies have taken steps to adopt next-generation 9-1-1. However, there are variables in how the term is being applied. Having an “ESInet” and “i3 call handling” does not equal NG9-1-1.

The NENA definition of an ESInet, in part

According to NENA, “An ESInet is a managed IP network that is used for emergency services communications, and which can be shared by all public safety agencies. It provides the IP transport infrastructure upon which independent application platforms and core services can be deployed, including, but not restricted to, those necessary for providing NG9-1-1 services.”

Throughout the country, agencies have taken steps to adopt next-generation 9-1-1. However, there are variables in how the term is being applied.

An IP selective router (IPSR) ESInet is typically voice only. It does not have all the feature functionality of next-gen core services. It was developed as an interim standard prior to NENA i3. NENA continues by referring to the NG9-1-1 core services as “The base set of services needed to process a 9-1-1 call on an ESInet includes the ESRP, ECRF, LVF, BCF, Bridge Policy Store, Logging Services and typical IP services such DNS and DHCP. The term NG9-1-1 Core Services includes the services and not the network on which they operate.”

A regional ESInet for call delivery to multiple agencies, or even a network used as a hosted call-handling setting; minus i3 NG9-1-1 core services, is not an i3 next-generation 9-1-1 system.

The good news is, you're almost there

The NENA i3 standards are comprehensive, allowing flexibility to choose the right service provider. All NGCS service providers claiming to have i3-compliant systems must adhere to those standards. With that said, adding NGCS to your network is vendor-agnostic — meaning you have choices regardless of your current service provider for ESInet and/or i3 call handling. NGCS are scalable to large statewide deployments or regions that can add surrounding communities in the future.

The power of NG9-1-1 converging technologies not only provides voice and precise location information, it enables insight delivered by text, IM and video. These additional tools meet public expectations as a common place in daily life and enhance the delivery of information from the incoming call to public safety response.

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About Jim Crichton
Senior Director of Sales, Public Safety
Jim Crichton is a Senior Director of Sales with Atos Public Safety. He has been involved in the public safety sector for over 45-years in Law Enforcement, Director of two different 9-1-1 Communications Centers and Public Safety sales. He has a passion in evolving technology given his experience from earlier days to what the industry offers today. He has been involved in several Next Generation 9-1-1 projects as a customer, and selling into 9-1-1 centers.