Looks complicated, doesn’t it? This is actually a very simplified diagram of the NG9-1-1 environment! There is lots of magic being done between those endpoints and the clouds, and within the PSAPs themselves. For example, consider a “Virtual PSAP” – one where the call takers are at a different location than the equipment, or even where they’re working from home. A call coming into a PSAP via the Emergency Services IP network (ESInet) can be routed to a remote agent along with all the data that came with the call. That agent can later transfer the call and data to another PSAP. The remote agent will have all of the capabilities of a local PSAP agent, including the “outgoing” capabilities, like alerting the wireless-connected public in an area, or forwarding medical data to responders en route.
Other types of data, like pictures, video, and vehicle telematics (OnStar, Agero, etc.) come from different places, and in many different formats. But the PSAP needs these in standardized formats that can feed multiple software systems, some of which have yet to be created. The Next Generation PSAP must accept, handle and route all this data. It must also “record” all this data – that is, save a copy of it as a legal record. In fact, the D.O.T. test plan requires that all data associated with a “call” be saved in two places, locally, and at a remote location. It must be remotely searchable, and must be capable of being transferred to a different remote location.
The NG9-1-1 Core Services elements live in the ESInet and do the critical work to make the NG9-1-1 magic happen. For example, the Border Control Function (BCF) can detect a Denial of Service attack – where someone attempts to hammer the ESInet with requests in order to cripple it. Once an attack is detected, the BCF can respond accordingly to protect the network from overload. The Emergency Services Routing Proxy (ESRP) queries the Emergency Call Routing Function (ECRF) to determine who should normally get a call, based on the device’s current location. The ESRP also has rules that can override the normal routing and deliver the call elsewhere under certain circumstances. All of the decisions made by the Core Services elements are data driven, that is, there are critical databases that provide things like service boundaries, routing rules, and many different types of location-based data. If the ESInet is the “IP highway”, then the Core Services are trucks, carrying data cargo to a particular destination based on carefully defined rules. Routing calls is a critical function, of course, but there are many other functions that provide services for protocol conversions, data queries and updates, logging and recording functionality, and more.
All of this requires some sophisticated technology, and the organizations and companies that are making all this happen serve the public in a wide variety of ways. Let’s take a look at how they are contributing, and what it all means to us. To learn more about NG 9-1-1 products and services, click here: 9-1-1 Products and Services...