Intrado has been recognized by Popular Science as 1 of the 100 greatest innovations of 2022. Intrado is honored to be included in Popular Science’s 35th annual Best of What’s New awards with our partner, AT&T. Locate Before Route was created by Intrado and AT&T to provide a better system for Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and first responders to help find the 911 caller’s location.
What is Locate Before Route, and Why Was it a Huge Evolution for 911?
In May 2022, Intrado and AT&T announced the nationwide rollout of Locate Before Route. Leaning on the improved location services on iOS and Android phones, Locate Before Route can pinpoint the location of an emergency call within 50 meters. Prior to this technology, wireless 911 calls were routed based on location to the nearest cell tower which can sometimes cover up to a 10-mile radius. This better location information should allow the call to be routed to the best dispatch center, ideally helping responders arrive faster. This data can only be used for 911 purposes and helps first responders get where they’re needed quickly, nationwide.
According to a Popular Science article called “A New AT&T Update Could Make 911 Calls More Effective,” location accuracy helps get the call to the right PSAP, and it also gives the dispatcher better location information. AT&T says that the detailed location tracking only occurs during an emergency call. “This can only happen while a 911 call is initiated and in progress,” says Adan Pope, the Chief Technology Officer at Intrado. “Not before and not after.”
Continued Innovation from Intrado and its Partners
Technology is always evolving and improving. It can bring many benefits to our everyday lives such as providing a better and faster way to communicate when an emergency takes place.
Historically, cellular 911 calls have been routed to the nearest PSAP, based upon the cell tower the call was made from rather than precise location of the caller. When a cell tower covers multiple PSAPs, one PSAP can be designated to receive the calls from that cell tower. Typically, the coverage area of cell tower could be from several blocks in a city to many miles in a more rural area. This creates problems for public safety because PSAPs cover specific geographic areas. If a 911 call comes into a PSAP from an area they are not responsible for, that PSAP must determine the proper PSAP and manually transfer the call so that help can be properly dispatched. To transfer a call, it will add an additional 20-30 seconds of delay to that call. An emergency such as a shooting or heart attack, 20 to 30 seconds can be the difference between life and death. A better system for PSAPs such as Locate Before Route can provide a quicker and more accurate response.
Today, the capability of cell phones and their location has increased drastically. Smartphones with GPS sensors, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more, are now common. Locate Before Route has transformed how 911 calls are routed to PSAPs. By working with cell phone OEMS and wireless carriers in the public safety community, Intrado is leveraging this new location capability of the handset to route the 911 call quickly and accurately to the PSAPs which can help the caller in need.