New Zealand Further Boosts Emergency Number Location
Monday, December 03, 2018 | Comments

Comtech Telecommunications will provide New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) with a location-based services (LBS) platform to support location requirements for public-safety services. This multimillion-dollar deployment provides coverage to the country’s Emergency Caller Location Information (ECLI) service, enabling location determination for handsets across all New Zealand mobile networks.

Launched by MBIE in May 2017, the ECLI service provides emergency dispatch services with the probable location of a caller when dialing 1-1-1 from a mobile phone, enabling public-safety agencies to respond quickly.

By deploying Comtech’s virtual LBS platform in a centralized data center, the ECLI can now connect to all local mobile network operators, complementing existing handset-based location services, including advanced mobile location (AML) for Android and iOS handsets. This provides access to location data for all mobile handset models, regardless of network, throughout New Zealand, including international roamers traveling into the country.

About 70 percent of smartphones in New Zealand area are Android based. The improved location services should be in place by mid-2020, a New Zealand governmental statement said.

“Since deploying the ECLI service in May 2017, we have made significant progress in providing a mobile caller’s location to New Zealand emergency services when they dial 1-1-1,” said Ben Quay, ECLI program director, MBIE. “However, to reach our target of providing high-precision location to 95 percent of genuine smartphone 1-1-1 calls, we recognized the need to expand our location capabilities and make it possible to locate any 1-1-1 call across New Zealand.”

In 2016, police in New Zealand recorded more than 8,100 incidents from more than 700,000 incidents where a special information request to a mobile network operator was needed to determine a caller’s location, a time-consuming process that can be costly for emergency services. Since implementing advanced location services in 2017, the number of requests has declined because of handset-derived location data, though this is limited because of AML being available only to Android and iOS handsets. The implementation of Comtech’s LBS platform provides a carrier-grade implementation that provides enhanced location capabilities that guarantees a location using multiple methods even when AML cannot, a statement said.

Special information requests will decline further because of ECLI direct integration with New Zealand’s mobile networks. New Zealand’s MBIE launched the extension to its location services 21 November.

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