The Business Reality
Planning for emergencies in any enterprise environment is serious business. Attention must be paid to ensuring that employees, customers, and visitors have easy and accurate access to emergency services should an emergency arise.
This is not only to ensure a safe working environment (as demanded by OSHA) but also to ensure that the business is not guilty of negligence should an unacceptable E911 solution be in place.
The US implemented a policy of E911 or Electronic 911 whereby when the digits “911” are dialed from a telephone, the call is routed to a local Public Switched Access Point (PSAP) and the address registered to the phone as well as the phone call is delivered to the E911 operator so that local emergency services (fire, police, ambulance) can be dispatched to the proper location.
Unlike years ago, today’s employees are no longer tethered to their desks by a wire. With Voice over IP they can unplug their phone, move to a new location and initiate service by plugging their phone into any internet connection.
If, after moving to the new location they don’t update that new location in the E911 system, emergency services will be dispatched to the wrong location.
What is important to know is that various states have different rules for the size of geography required to be considered when locating a caller.
Imagine a warehouse complex which is hundreds of thousands of square feet in size but which is all identified by a single physical address. A physical address alone is not sufficient to accurately locate someone in a space that large. Furthermore think of the millions of employees in multi-floor office buildings (one address) or remote workers using an office supplied VoIP phone.
With different states having different requirements, (some more stringent than others), what should the business owner be on the lookout for when choosing a voice provider and when evaluating that provider’s E911 solution?
- The ability to easily input and update location information into the database feeding location information to the PSAP via a portal.
- A solution which has MULTIPLE methods of tying a phone or phone system to a required location, floor and office depending on what a particular state demands.
- A tool or method for checking what location is assigned to the phone and a standard business practice which makes use of that method on a periodic basis part of the safety practices of the business.
The nexVortex Solution – What makes it Different
We have three methods which can be used to set up E911 properly.
|Method||Ideal Use Case||How it Works|
|Proxy Credentials||Single Office/Single PBX||Ties SIP Proxy Key to Physical Location of PBX|
|Caller ID||Multi-Office (one building) or demand for location down to room-level resolution||Ties Caller ID data to office, classroom, or specific area of building|
|IP Screening||Multiple PBXs||Ties IP Address to proper PBX and PBX to proper location|
|Combination||Combine Proxy Credentials with IP Screening for two PBXs in two offices||Allows multiple PBXs in multiple locations to be uniquely identified|
The nexVortex Strategy for Success
Using a combination of these methods allows the business owner to tie a PBX to a location but more importantly it provides the ability to locate individual phones within an office space for emergency calling and location. Most SIP providers choose ONLY ONE of these methods for E911 location identification which carries the risk of perhaps not meeting an individual state’s requirement.
nexVortex chose to implement ALL THREE which, individually or in combination, are flexible enough to handle nearly any implementation scenario. As part of our process we require all accounts which are created to have proxy credentials tied to E911 automatically turned on to ensure that no customer is brought into service without an E911 solution. It is part of our turn-up checklist. In addition, we have an easy to use portal to assign E911 location via the three methods mentioned above and to update location information via easy-to-use drop down menus.
Once in service, it is easy to verify the location information by picking up the handset on any phone and dialing “311.” Our system will read the address assigned to the phone so it is easy to verify for correctness. Our system is used to verify address information before the service goes live and should be part of each company’s best practices as part of their safety procedures.