Emergency Calling and E911 with Lync

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Alan Percy
| Observations by Alan D. Percy on VoIP enabling technology, industry and our personal reach for success.

Emergency Calling and E911 with Lync

During this last week, I did an interview with my friend Doug Green for his Lync Special Report.  Here's a "trimmed" transcript of our discussion:

DG: What new solutions from AudioCodes should we expect to see for Microsoft Lync and other Unified Communications efforts?

AP: A new area that we’ve recently introduced solves E-911 emergency response challenges for enterprises with support for Emergency Location Identifier Number (ELIN).

DG: What are the challenges with E-911 in enterprises?

AP: First it’s important to understand how imperative quick and reliable access to emergency services is for people in the work place.  During a study done by the FCC in 2008, Americans made over 240 million calls to 911 – roughly two-thirds were made from land-line or office telephones.  It’s easy to assume that we would dial 911 when we witness a car accident, but work-place accidents, medical emergencies, spills and even fires require quick access to first responders via the 911 system.

DG: What are the options available to businesses to support E-911 calling?

AP: For small and medium businesses or branch offices with TDM trunking, it’s pretty simple – just like the solution they use for their PBX, they would use their TDM trunks to handle 911 calls, which would provide the physical location to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).  We’ve supported this configuration all along, but it has limitations.

DG: Assuming things get more complex with larger enterprises?

AP: Yes, they do.  As the size of an enterprise campus grows and the number of telephone DID numbers grow, businesses need to provide more detailed location information to the PSAP.  You can envision someone making a 911 call from multi-building campus, each building with multiple floors – when the ambulance arrives, where do they go? 

DG: This must be where ELIN comes in?

AP: Exactly, larger enterprises can now create “zones” for the various physical areas on their campus, assigning an ELIN number to each zone.  When a client or phone in that zone dials 911, Lync with an associated AudioCodes media gateway will pass the ELIN number for that zone to the PSAP.  The PSAP uses their location database to convert the ELIN to a physical address (example: 3rd floor of building C), improving the ability of the first responders to locate the individual in need. 

DG: Besides helping provide better location information, what other benefits does the ELIN feature offer?

AP: By supporting ELIN, the PSAP registration surcharges paid by the enterprise are significantly reduced.  Instead of having to register and maintain every single DID number on the campus, enterprises only need to register their ELIN values, which depending on the facility, can cover one hundred or more individual phones/clients.  As you can imagine, the cost savings is dramatic.

DG: Where can our readers learn more?

AP:  More on our entire Lync product portfolio can be found at www.audiocodes.com/Lync.  AudioCodes also has a collection of recorded on-demand webinars on this and other UC Migration topics at: www.audiocodes.com/uc-migration-series.

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