9-1-1 Early Adopters Summit Convenes in Texas
Tuesday, December 05, 2017 | Comments

Public-safety communications leaders gathered in Arlington, Texas, last week to discuss the changing landscape of 9-1-1 and share ideas for putting the industry on a more productive path. The inaugural 9-1-1 Early Adopters Summit brought together U.S. state and local agencies to discuss what is needed to solve some of the challenges stalling 9-1-1’s progress and to explore leading-edge technologies and operational tactics.

“We founded the 9-1-1 Early Adopters Summit because we felt that our industry has been talking about change for too long instead of driving the transformation that’s required,” said Christy Williams, director of the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) regional 9-1-1 program and summit cofounder. “We’ve become too comfortable with maintaining the status quo. The citizens in our communities need more from us, and it is our job to find a way to fill our 9-1-1 centers with the technology, strategies and staff required to meet the public’s growing demands.”

During the summit, representatives from 15 of the nation’s 9-1-1 agencies networked, collaborated and led discussions regarding innovative technology, governance and operations initiatives. Topics of discussion included:
• Social media data and platform use by 9-1-1 centers
• Methods of contacting 9-1-1, such as using the internet and text to 9-1-1, and how they integrate with other applications
• Silo-busting between governmental agencies such as the departments of Transportation and Defense and the 9-1-1 sector, and across networks such as NG 9-1-1 and the nationwide public-safety broadband network being implemented by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)
• New programs such as psychiatric patient management and administrative call-takers that can unburden 9-1-1 telecommunicators
• Disruptive technologies from vendors such as RapidSOS, RapidDeploy and Genesis Pulse

“As early adopters, we are the champions of change,” Williams said. “There are several ways that 9-1-1 agencies can push our industry forward. Some examples that we discussed include building our requests for proposals around use cases and the public’s needs; participating in standards development at the national level, but not waiting for standards before we act; and being more collaborative about our projects and their successes and failures. If we’re afraid to make mistakes and learn from them, we never will get to where we’re trying to go.”

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