Everybody is texting these days. Teenagers, soccer moms, business people, and even grandparents have jumped on the bandwagon, sending more text messages, photos and videos than ever before. In fact, according to a 2011 Pew Internet survey, “Americans and Text Messaging,” 73 percent of cell phone users text, and nearly one-third of them would rather text than talk. With texting on the rise, it’s inevitable that 9-1-1- technology must evolve to meet the needs of today’s mobile citizens. That’s what Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) is all about.

NG9-1-1 is a national initiative that aims to update and improve emergency communications services.  The end goal is to upgrade the country’s 9-1-1 infrastructure so that the public can not only call, but also transmit text, video, photos, and more to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). In turn, the PSAP will be able to process the data, transmit it as necessary, and get it out to first responders. Unlike today’s system, the new infrastructure will also support the transmission of calls and information across county and state lines. These enhanced capabilities will be instrumental in increasing public safety by helping law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs, and other first responders get better information about the situations they face in the field.

While migrating your PSAP to NG9-1-1 may seem overwhelming at first, proper planning can help ensure a smooth and manageable transition. Give careful upfront consideration to all your technology needs — ESInet, CTI software, CAD systems, mobile data networks, TDD software, and more. Think about how you will fund your NG9-1-1 system. Explore potential liability issues. Create a public education plan. And figure out the best way to protect your NG9-1-1 solution against downtime that could lead to tragic consequences. Looking for practical advice on how to successfully move your PSAP to NG9-1-1?  Download our informative white paper, What You Need to Know About Migrating to Next Generation 9-1-1 Technology,” to learn more.

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