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E911 Location Management: The Challenge of Shifting to the Cloud

Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) provides enterprises with capabilities and flexibilities that on-premises environments cannot compete with. The scalability and cost of a cloud-based solution is a logical choice for organizations looking to add more connected devices, that need to support a remote workforce, and that want to benefit from the many features that augment team collaboration and productivity. These factors have increased in importance since the rapid shift to teleworking.

Managing E911 Locations

With device mobility and shifting the enterprise’s network to the cloud comes the challenge of E911 location management. In an on-premises environment, IT is responsible for tracking phone location. Typically, this means use of a database that maps phone location to an Emergency Response Location (ERL), which can be a front-door address, or in larger facilities, a building, wing, floor, or specific office. Location information must be regularly updated so that when a user dials 911, the call and location information is routed to the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).

IT professionals responsible for E911 management typically rely on a variety of strategies to manage location and call routing. For on-premises systems, roughly 32.5% of participants from a research conducted by Nemertes Research use specialty platforms and providers for E911 call routing and location management, either alone or in combination with vendor-provided location management tools. Specialty platforms typically automate the registration and tracking of desktop and softphones, and allow rapid identification and database updates when a user changes location.

Moving to UCaaS requires the same level of dynamic caller location management and call routing, often in environments that are increasingly reliant on softphones, both for initial provisioning as well as for ongoing location management. The need for proactive and automated location management also extends to home workers.

Why Use a Soft Client to Call 911?

Why would an at-home worker dial 911 from their soft client? As landlines are steadily declining in households, cell phones and laptops become the main communication devices during working hours. What if an at-home worker’s cell phone runs out of battery or is out of reach? The soft client on the worker’s laptop becomes the only communication platform available. Therefore, IT needs to treat remote soft clients as they would with on-premises devices and attribute an E911 location for each user.

Automating E911 Location Management

Organizations who proactively leverage E911 location management tools can benefit from a significant reduction of operating and management costs by eliminating much of the overhead associated with manual location management. However, managing locations for UCaaS deployments that scale into the hundreds or thousands of phones, and supports a large at-home or remote workforce, becomes a daunting task if location management is not an automated process. Absent capabilities to automate granular location provisioning, change management and call routing, organizations may find that migrating to UCaaS requires additional administrative resources and time to maintain compliance with appropriate federal and state laws.

In its thought-leading whitepaper, What Enterprises Need to Know About E911 and UCaaS, Intrado, in collaboration with Nemertes Research, explore the E911 location management challenges UCaaS providers and enterprises may face. Download the whitepaper to find out more about the E911 technology available that can be leveraged for automating E911 location management with UCaaS deployments.

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