FAQ for 9-1-1:
What are the advantages to an IP network?
With an IP network, PSAPS can get wireless calls via text, instant messaging, pictures and video.
How are wireless 9-1-1 calls different from landline 9-1-1 calls?
Wireline 9-1-1 calls are from a phone that is in a fixed location. The legacy 911 environment really only supports 911 calls from fixed locations, and a wireless call has to be made to look like a wireline call, with the added function of 'in call location update' or re-bid. Indiana is fully phase II throughout the state. This means that in most cases, the operator will receive the wireless phone’s call-back number and location information.
How many people use wireless phones to call 9-1-1?
Of the roughly 190 million 9-1-1 calls made last year, over 50% were from wireless phones.
How does Indiana’s E9-1-1 system compare to other states?
Indiana is a leader in implementing new technologies and improved 911 service for wireless devices.
What improvements in Indiana’s E9-1-1 system are planned?
In 2010, INdigital is installing a new IP routing platform from Cisco to allow greater flexibility in the way service providers can connect to the IN911 network. In addition, INdigital will be rolling out several text to 911 services to advance public safety.
What types of location technologies are currently being used for E9-1-1?
Network technology uses one of two methods of determining the location of the caller. Geometric triangulation by the network can determine the caller’s position by using data from three serving cellular towers. The second method is the use of a handset based Global Positioning system (GPS) technology that uses the handset to transmit the location to the IN911 network.
Why was INdigital selected to provide the IN911 network?
The Wireless Enhanced 9-1-1 Advisory Board (WE9AB) awarded the contract to INdigital because the company proposed the most advanced, innovative technology that would work with the equipment and systems that already existed at the PSAPs. This allows the IN911 network to integrate to the existing equipment while improving service is thru the of software driven features. PSAPs got new services and features that that extended the life of their current systems without a forklift upgrade of all their equipment.
What does INdigital do that other companies don't?
INdigital bridges the technology divide between legacy 9-1-1 systems and equipment and “Next Generation” 9-1-1 capable systems and equipment. The IN911 network created by INdigital supports all legacy telco or equipment, but adds network features and lowers costs and improves reliability through the use of Internet Protocol (IP) transport. By eliminating many of the CAMA links that make up legacy 911 systems, call processing times are shortened and improved redundancy is put in place.
How long has your company been in business?
INdigital was founded in 1997.
How many years has your company been involved in public safety?
INdigital's founding companies were instrumental in the first wireline Enhanced 9-1-1 system in Indiana, and many of the staff members have extensive experience in 9-1-1. There are currently three staff members that are NENA ENP certified. The company has had a high profile in NG9-1-1 since 2005 as the network designer/builder/operator of the IN911 network.
What is you core business?
Do you do business outside of PSAPs? INdigital’s core business has evolved over time. The company began as a competitive local exchange provider. The focus has shifted to the research and development of NG9-1-1 services, NG9-1-1 network operations, 9-1-1 equipment installation, and all other support services for NG9-1-1.
What are your organization’s customer service standards?
INdigital is focused on providing high quality customer service. E9-1-1 is one of our core business units, not an orphaned department unknown to distant corporate management. INdigital has made it a priority to make our company easy to do business with. Because of our willingness to listen to our customers, and think well outside “the box”, INdigital has successfully solved many problems for our customers.
Do you have references other than PSAPs?
INdigital has a wide variety of references. An extensive list can be provided and would include many industry sectors, public safety agencies, units of state and local government and other service providers.
What solutions do you normally provide?
Can you provide a solution that will not become obsolete?
INdigital offers the full featured Solacom Guardian ESP (emergency service platform) and its own BAS-EC (BASic Emergency Communications) platform, as well as software and hardware solutions from other vendors. All of these are software driven platforms that can be easily upgraded or modified to adapt to emerging standards, technology changes, or innovative technology. INdigital focuses on IP based solutions that utilizing the SIP trunking and advanced IP applications. These systems are designed to be adaptable as new technology and standards are released. To every extent possible, INdigital relies on common, off the shelf components that can be purchased and supported through a variety of distributors and sources.
Why IP (Internet Protocol)?
Migrating to an all IP network enables cost savings on both existing and provides a path for the development of new future services. Typically, NG9-1-1 designs using IP allow the voice 9-1-1 elements to be provided more efficiently and at a lower cost. The same IP network can be used to deliver ANI/ALI data and other public safety services, representing a substantial cost savings when implemented over a wide geographic area.
With a suitable IP network is in place, additional features and services can be added to the PSAP over the existing IP network eliminating the need and cost of additional parallel networks for each new service.
What about security. Does an IP 9-1-1 touch the public internet?
With INdigital’s private IP protocol, the network will not touch the public portions of the Internet. INdigital recognizes the recently published L R Kimball report on IP and network security (located in our resource section, here) and fully agrees with supports and has implemented the recommendations it contains.
How will the transition from legacy to NG9-1-1 occur?
Next Generation public safety networks are typically installed by making a parallel installation to the existing E9-1-1 system, then embedding the legacy system into the NG9-1-1 architecture. By this we mean that the new network and system is installed next to the existing E9-1-1 system, then those components of the legacy system that will remain are converted to IP technology at the appropriate transition point. Over time, more and more of the legacy services are migrated away from CAMA or frame relay or low speed data connection types to the IP network. This is done over some period of time, and after the acceptance of the new IP system.
What are some future enhancements?
PSAPs will utilize more data intensive applications through NG9-1-1. One of the goals of NG9-1-1 is to deliver more information to the call taker. Voice over IP mobile internet devices, smart phones such as the iPhone(tm) and Blackberry(tm) gain popularity, and new IP applications are developed every day.
In the future, E9-1-1 calls are expected to contain advanced data features such as pictures and/or video capabilities. Instant text messaging is just over the horizon and 'callers' will be able to IM the nearest E9-1-1 PSAP. In the automotive sector, telematic providers, such as OnStar, ATX and Hughes will be providing advanced crash notification.
Agencies in a region will have increased capability to be linked to each other, improving support services for public safety agencies thru a concept known as the IP based ESInet.
Does the next generation network allow for customized call routing schemes?
Yes. The INdigital system uses a selective router based ACD function to route the E9-1-1 calls to the appropriate PSAP. Alternate emergency or custom routing schemes are available as well, and can be modified and controlled by the PSAP in real time.
Will your solution support “remote call taker” positions in the event of PSAP service outages?
Yes. The INdigital solution supports the ability to connect to the controller via a remote IP connection. This connection can be over a private IP network or via a secure connection tunneling through public internet. The use of VPN, Session Border Controller and firewalls assure security.
Does the INdigital solution provide redundancy if the physical PSAP facilities isn't available?
Yes. INdigital has helped many PSAPs develop failure or be disaster recovery plans. INdigital's network is capable of automatically routing all E9-1-1 traffic to alternate locations.
Does the INdigital network have a way to deal with service provider outages?
Yes. INdigital is developing a new type of service that will allow a service provider to use commonly available telecom services to ensure that 911 calls are routed and delivered in the event of a network outage.
Does the INdigital solution allow for customized default routing with intelligent routing rules?
The INdigital network currently supports default routing and also supports “business rules” that can be tailored to each agency. Due to the nature and limitations of certain FCC regulations for wireless 911 calls, INdigital supports services that are available, but restricted due to certain FCC rulemakings.
Can the solution support call routing and management based latitude and longitude of the caller?
Yes. Today, the INdigital network could perform wireless call routing based on pin point geospatial information. The INdigital network supports PIDF-lo which will allow dynamic call routing based on the originating caller’s location. While we are not aware of any service provider that has this capability ready, INdigital does.
There are many vendors in a crowded marketplace claiming “geospatial routing”, and often portray it as widely available when in reality it is not. In rural areas, many wireless carriers are still using omni-directional towers and it is simply not possible to get caller location that is as accurate as desired for E9-1-1 agencies.
What is your ability, flexibility, and willingness to work with existing custom vendor solution in the PSAP, such as CAD, mapping, ProQA, and other standard public safety applications?
INdigital is a lover, not a fighter. The company has an “open” philosophy, meaning that we encourage the integration of our E9-1-1 equipment and service with other PSAP resources, vendors and providers.
We believe it is best for a public safety agency to integrate the various systems they have as much as possible, and for them to share as much information as possible. This cuts down on the work required by PSAP personnel to get the same information into different systems. INdigital has integrated its 9-1-1 equipment with many CAD and Mapping solutions. We have developed an IP based XML ALI data interface, opening up new possibilities for CAD/Mapping vendors. INdigital looks forward to developing these types of advanced integrations for local public safety agencies.
Will the PSAPs be required to upgrade equipment?
Upgrading PSAP equipment is optional. INdigital can build the network and deliver calls to the PSAP via the IP network and then hand the calls off to existing PSAP equipment, or INdigital can provide new PSAP equipment to ensure complete next generation capability.
How do you eliminate single points of failure?
INdigital’s IP networking products and PSAP equipment is designed to be as reliable as possible with at least one level of redundancy for all critical components. Many of the network elements are deployed in”quad” configurations, with two active and two backup units.
The Solacom platform has redundant modules to provide survivability and limit single points of failure.
Typically, INdigital builds IP networks redundant, with at least two links to each PSAP location. Other solutions are possible, but INdigital typically uses two routers per site and two Ethernet switches to provide redundancy. INdigital is currently working on an upgrade project that will add a third internet connection, providing even more reliability and higher availability.
Wherever built in redundancy is not available, components are duplicated and the load is “shared” between components to assure that a single component failure cannot completely disable a PSAP.
What industry standards are supported in your product?
INdigital adheres to all NENA/APCO and IETF standards, the National Electric Safety Code and National Electric Code. The company follows all industry recommendations and standards set out by Cisco, Bellcore and ATIS. With regard to working environments, INdigital is OSHA compliant in all work practices.
Will emerging technologies be incorporated into your next generation solutions?
Using IP networking as the backbone of NG9-1-1 networks allows almost total freedom for new public safety services. INdigital has many of these services under development today.
Can INdigital maintain our agencies Master Street Address Guide (MSAG)?
Yes. If INdigital serves as your agency's landline E9-1-1 and ALI service provider, we provide a complete ALI management service to assist the PSAPs. We have also assisted many agencies in refining their wireless call routing to better meet their agency's needs.
Can reports be made available to the customer?
INdigital provides an onsite reporting engine that will allow reports on administrative calls using Call Detail Record (CDR) information that can be used for many types of reports. Reports can be generated from the E9-1-1 director’s workstation.
How frequently can the reports be made available to the customer?
Each county will have access to their own reporting engine. Reports can be generated anytime. What troubleshooting services are provided in the solution? What level of ownership of issue resolution is provided?
INdigital telecom views itself as the “one throat to choke” as a solutions provider. With our experience in servicing our E9-1-1 customers, no problem or outage is served by playing the blame game. It is our goal and our highest intention to provide our expertise and service on all support issues. For example, if we have a county that is having problems with a trunk from a service provider, INdigital gets actively involved to provide any resource available to resolve the issue as the vendor and provider.
Will you support the state regulations activities in the implementation of the next generation 9-1-1?
Yes. INdigital is familiar with regulatory activities at many of the various state commissions and state level 911 agencies.
Does INdigital comply with federal, state and county regulatory requirements?
Yes. INdigital has had extensive experience in the review and compliance with the various regulatory agencies. Many of our products and services are considered cutting edge and have been cited as examples of NG9-1-1 in various industry forums.