Canadian company Connexon are set to launch their Enhanced 999 solves the problem of providing precise location information for emergency calls made from extensions on IP-PBX networks and legacy digital PBX systems.
Connexon developed Enhanced 999 for the UK market in response to demand from their existing North American customers. When investigating the practicalities of this it soon became clear that there was no Enhanced 999 solution available in the UK.
Enhanced 999 solves the problem of providing the emergency services with precise location information when an employee of a large organisation makes a 999 call from a PBX extension on the enterprise network.
The problem at present is that the emergency services are aware only of the civic address of the PSTN line that the 999 call uses to “break-out” to the public network.
This information may not be sufficiently precise if the caller is, for example, in a room on the 20th floor of a large office block, or in a another building on a campus site.
The caller may even be at a location many miles away if the organisation has a multi-site private network.
This problem of precise location identification is becoming even worse with the increasing deployment of IP-PBXs where extensions are not tied to a fixed location and there are devices and features such as softphones, hot-desking and shared extension numbers.
The Connexon Enhanced 999 solution solves these problems and has been certified in North America by IP-PBX vendors such as Cisco, Avaya, Nortel, 3Com and ShoreTel for direct connection to their IP-PBXs.
Enhanced 999 has been developed after discussions with BT and uses BT’s network infrastructure to route calls to BT’s Emergency Operators.
It can be argued that organisations must consider implementing an Enhanced 999 solution because of their Health and Safety obligations.
The issue of providing the emergency services with imprecise or misleading location information is one that should be considered as part of the mandatory risk assessment that all large organisations must undertake.
Furthermore, OFCOM are considering this issue as part of their investigation into the provision of accurate location information for VoIP systems.