West Tests 9-1-1 Location Technology with Google, PSAPs
Wednesday, March 07, 2018 | Comments

West announced results of a wireless 9-1-1 location trial using its Wireless Dispatchable Location Services (WDLS) and Google’s Android Emergency Location Services (ELS) technologies.

The purpose of West’s trial was to determine if WDLS using ELS could improve on the carrier-based location provided to 9-1-1 call centers through faster delivery of the location, improved accuracy of the location or both.

Coordinating with several public-safety answering points (PSAPs) in Florida, Georgia and the state of Washington, West conducted testing using actual 9-1-1 call data from a population of more than 2 million residents. West compared the existing carrier location data with the handset-based location information generated by ELS. Comparing the two datasets, West was able to evaluate whether the PSAPs would have benefited from the handset-based location from ELS in addition to the location from the wireless carriers.

West concluded that at the time the 9-1-1 call was answered by the PSAP, WDLS using ELS would have provided a significantly more accurate location to call-takers 46 percent of the time. West also determined that 34 percent of the time, the WDLS/ELS solution would have provided a more accurate location earlier in the call process.

The FCC estimates that a decrease in emergency response times by one minute correlates to 10,000 lives saved each year. The earlier that location information can be delivered to public safety, the quicker it can be used to dispatch emergency services to assist 9-1-1 callers.

“Our trial was rigorously conducted, and we were able to fully evaluate the effectiveness of WDLS and ELS without impacting 9-1-1 callers, the carriers or the PSAPs,” said John Snapp, vice president of technology, carrier services at West.

WDLS takes an agnostic approach to aggregate all valid forms of location data, including carrier-based location, handset-based technologies such as ELS, plus other reliable sources. At the time of a 9-1-1 call, the platform then validates and optimizes this data while determining the most precise location of a 9-1-1 caller for carriers and PSAPs.

“We are actively involved in partnering with service providers and technology innovators alike, and working with industry organizations to ensure that we are collectively developing and evaluating solutions that meet or exceed the highest possible standards of availability, reliability and performance, with the ultimate shared goal of helping public safety respond to the needs of emergency callers quickly and with the best location information available,” said John Kearney, senior vice president/general manager, carrier services for West.

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