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In June of 2022, The University of Chicago Health Lab worked to create a blueprint that addresses many of the difficulties facing ECCs (Emergency Call Centers) and the public that relies on these services in times of need. With advances in dispatch technology and the transition to Next-Generation 911, ECCs will be seeking to further the use of sensitive personal data of those calling into an ECC. While the goal is to increase the functionality and response of first responders such as police, fire and EMS, transparency of this data is crucial as we move toward cloud-empowered, data-heavy applications. As described within the Transform911 blueprint, 

“We are calling for uniform 911 minimum data standards and improved data collection practices, as well as the development and maintenance of transparent, consistent policies on the ethical use of technology and data in emergency response. This covers data privacy and algorithmic transparency for software systems built around emergency response data. Furthermore, we are calling for the adoption of clear and specific guidelines for standardizing, sharing, and making available emergency response data across the nation.” (Chapter 8, Para 1)

As we march forward into an ever-changing data-enabled landscape, driven through cloud services and advanced AI technologies to assist first responders, the core of ECC operations, the dispatch console must be able to quickly evolve to meet the needs and standards of the heroes responsible for answering the call. One question every ECC and PSAP must ask themselves is, “Does our current system have the ability to meet these needs now, and into the future?” The short answer in most cases is probably not.

 

THE DELTA BETWEEN EXPECTATIONS AND REALITY:

As described in the Transform911: Blueprint for Change, “Everyone knows the number, almost no one knows how it works.” The reality within the modern ECC/PSAP is one of the challenges that hinder their ability to deliver the RIGHT information, at the RIGHT time such as a lack of resources, staffing challenges, and aging radio dispatch infrastructure to name a few. As public expectations change and the move toward a more transparent and inclusive public safety ecosystem, technology will play a critical role in addressing the needs of dispatchers, first responders and the public at large.

ECCs/PSAPs need to consider their options when deciding how to tackle the revolution that is quickly approaching their industry. More will be demanded from those working within their centers and an audit of their current technology seems like a logical first step. At the heart of these operations sits the conductor of the public safety orchestra, the dispatch console system. The critical communications space is rapidly changing. As public safety broadband solutions come to market that assist in the transformation of 911, agencies need to consider radio dispatch console solutions that can bridge the gap between “tried and true” LMR and new, future-looking cloud offerings and services, providing what they need now, with the ability to easily provide future needs without the costs and operational disruption of complete “forklift” upgrades.

 

CALL TO ACTION:

While many calls to action are outlined in the Transform911: Blueprint For Change, a focus on the supporting technology infrastructure will be of key concern to any agency looking to upgrade their dispatch console system and more. Transform911 seeks to empower ECCs and PSAPs with modern tools by using dedicated shared services models and cloud-based services to improve consistency and quality of service. As described in Chapter 8 of the blueprint:

  • Move to cloud-based technology/shared service models for emergency response to lower the cost of change and encourage consolidation across jurisdictions, leveraging hybrid cloud/premise models to account for performance/connectivity issues.
  • Provide on-demand availability in disaster situations where the demand for seats is elastic.
  • Empower state 911 authorities to promote the sharing of ECC services, achieve economies of scale, and improve response times and lives saved.
  • Encourage small ECCs (74% of all ECCs employ three or fewer telecommunicators) to leverage one another’s resources when migrating to next-generation technology (research, training, purchasing, and maintenance).

The fact is, the reliance on a closed radio dispatch ecosystem provided by some manufacturers may be a speed bump in the adoption of new and improved ways to provide the dispatch service. In short, don’t find yourself with limited upgrade paths during a time of increased change within the industry. Instead, focus on choosing partners that provide radio-agnostic and open standard solutions that don’t lock you in with proprietary protocols that hinder your ability to integrate with other technologies.

 

 

WHAT CAN CLOUD SERVICES PROVIDE? 

ECCs and PSAPs need to evolve their current system so they can provide intelligent, multichannel communications in real-time. In other words: they should be able to seamlessly integrate social media, video, geographic mapping and more into their operations while providing dynamic data and information sharing capabilities for all stakeholders involved in an emergency situation. This is where cloud technology and supporting network infrastructure can be leveraged to provide a next-level radio dispatch experience. 

Cloud-ready dispatch solutions have the ability to meet the core calls of action as outlined by Transform911. Depending on your desired setup, data/analytics integrations can easily be used to connect and share information across multiple ECCs/PSAPs. This could be used to either provide more relevant information to the dispatcher responding or allow for the agency to connect multiple radio dispatch centers easily in times of increased emergency response. Utilizing cloud-supported radio dispatch hardware also comes with a more affordable purchase model. While a capital expenditure model has been the standard way to purchase the required equipment to operate a PSAP, cloud solutions utilizing a monthly/annual operating expenditure model have the ability to provide evenly spread out payments to smaller ECCs/PSAPs with affordable, functional, and reliable public safety grade radio dispatch solutions. Another added benefit to utilizing cloud radio dispatch technology is ensuring you are always operating with the latest software and up-to-date features available on the platform. While the providers of closed ecosystem radio dispatch solutions have not been addressing the use of cloud-enabled dispatch and its obvious benefits, one organization has been the leader in providing cloud-ready radio dispatch solutions to the market since 2018, InterTalk™ Critical Information Systems.     

 

INTERTALK ENLITE™: BRIDGING THE GAP

InterTalk Enlite is a hosted/on-premises dispatch solution for today — and tomorrow. This public-safety grade radio and telephone dispatch console system empowers dispatchers by bringing traditional radio (LMR), digital radio protocols (DMR, P25), Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PTToC) and telephone call-taking capabilities to their fingertips. With a growing wealth of available data integrations such as social media, mapping, weather, and video, the right information is always available. Enlite enables you to coordinate radio and telephony communication and enhance situational awareness from wherever the action takes you – from your desk to the field, ensuring operational continuity.

Affordable 

InterTalk Enlite is available on an annual subscription model. Organizations of all sizes can benefit from reduced fixed costs, infinite hosted scalability, and pay-by-need equality, minimizing needed capital equipment expenditures.

Secure

InterTalk Enlite adheres to the latest encryption guidelines from NIST and OWASP for securing real-time communications over the public Internet and for storing sensitive data at rest utilizing encrypted VPN links. Enlite software development methodology includes a fully automated deployment pipeline with automatic vulnerability scans, peer reviews and transparent deployments, adhering to NIST 800-160, ISO 27001:2013 and ISO 9001:2015 standards.

Connect Anywhere

InterTalk Enlite enables communication and information to be shared via public safety grade network WiFi or LTE-enabled laptop, desktop, tablet and/or smartphone from almost anywhere. InterTalk Enlite enables the dispatcher to work within a web-based browser (such as Chrome) on Android devices with ease.

Technology Bridging 

Enlite fully integrates with your current communication systems, providing a seamless migration toward hosted technologies now and into the future. InterTalk Enlite supports integrated telephony and radio dispatching on mobile devices. Using InterTalk’s IP Radio Gateway hardware, dispatching operations are seamlessly integrated with any analog radio communications infrastructure. InterTalk Enlite can also natively integrate with existing digital radio protocols including DMR, TRBO and P25. Enlite supports telephone dispatching and can integrate with VoIP or analog-based telephone infrastructures. InterTalk Enlite’s intelligent call management system supports call queuing and can be synchronized with many enterprise contact management systems for seamless synchronization of telephone numbers, addresses and other information

 

CONCLUSION

The future of the 911 call center is bright. The technology available today such as Enlite will help public safety dispatch centers to be more efficient, effective, and responsive to their communities. The Transform911 program has already made great strides towards this goal. InterTalk believes in a radio agnostic and inclusive technology ecosystem that seeks to give the power back to the dispatchers, empowering them with the tools they need to meet the ever-changing demands of their industry. Join the (R)evolution today!

 

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