May 11, 2011 – Indiana’s leadership in public safety just passed another significant milestone. The next generation, IP based IN911 network processed the 11 millionth wireless E9-1-1 call since its inception in 2006. The state of Indiana has the largest IP based public safety network in the world, serving 6.4 million residents and the traveling public who pass through the crossroads of America.
The IN911 network processed over 2.5 million calls in 2010, quietly passing the 10 million mark in late 2010. The network makes extensive use of IP technologies to serve the state’s nine wireless providers and over 130 local 911 call taking authorities. Average call setup time is less than 3 seconds from the time the public dials the digits 9-1-1 and press send on their handset.
The 11 millionth call occurred shortly after 9am on Sunday, and was answered by the Hancock County 911 center in Greenfield, Indiana.
Indiana’s work to standardize call processing quality and promote call transfers between public safety agencies throughout the state is well known within the 9-1-1 industry. The state was recognized for having the best state program in 2009, and Indiana’s public safety community was featured in a Time magazine story “How to fix 911” in April.
Richard Mourdock, Treasurer of the State of Indiana serves as the Chairman of the Wireless E9-1-1 Advisory Board. Chairman Mourdock stated that “Indiana has one of the most advanced 9-1-1 networks in the world, and this milestone is a great testament to the work of the Board to ensure that all Hoosiers have access to critical public safety from their wireless devices. I’m proud to have been a part of the spirit of innovation and Hoosier know-how that serves 911 call takers everywhere in our state.”
The State’s legacy wireless E-9-1-1 network began an upgrade in 2005. The Generation 1 and Generation 2 networks were built to improve the routing of wireless voice calls to all of the Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) across the state. For the first time, this 911 network had the capability of completing calls using an all digital network, improving both call setup time and reducing the time required for dispatchers to update the location of the caller.
Working with L.R. Kimball, an architecture, engineering and communications technology firm, and INdigital, an Indiana based telecom company, the Indiana Wireless Board oversaw the creation of the first wireless-only E9-1-1 network to be built on a statewide basis. Known as the IN911 network, it uses a fiber based IP backbone and highly redundant connections to the PSAP.
The Indiana Wireless Board broke new ground by combining systems, processes, emerging and interim industry standards thru the guided creation of software and service platforms that previously didn’t exist.
The network requirements developed by L.R. Kimball and implemented by INdigital enabled wireless carriers to connect directly into an IP network dedicated to public safety. The network replaced 17 different selective routers that were used in the legacy system with two mated tandems, ensuring high availability.
Mark Grady, who founded INdigital telecom said that this is just another step along the way. “All of us at INdigital are proud of this measure of our company’s success. We created an IP network for public safety before anyone else even thought it was possible.
We are honored to continue the tradition of Indiana innovation in many ways, and we look forward to all of the new things we have developed that will soon allow all of the public, including those with hearing or speaking limitations to have access to public safety as we continue our work with the Board.”
Using the new network, the State of Indiana has recognized a number of new opportunities as a benefit of a digital environment:
- With digital transmission to the PSAPs, calls can be processed more swiftly, and the shift toward wireless phones by the public can be accommodated more readily. 60 to 80% of all 911 calls today are placed by wireless devices.
- New applications can be quickly and easily incorporated into the IP backbone, including emerging technologies such as Emergency Multimedia Communications (non-voice services) such as such as real time text messaging, video and telematics information such as OnStar ™.
- The network currently allows 52 of Indiana’s counties to transfer calls to each other, and Indiana border counties will soon have the same capabilities. Extending the IN911 network to neighboring states ensures public safety for Hoosiers wherever they live or work. Through a service improvement initiative by AT&T, Indiana PSAPs served by AT&T currently have inter-agency transfer capability to Louisville and eastern Illinois, including the Chicagoland region. The Board is working with all 911 system service providers to develop full statewide transfer capability between all 92 counties.
- The IP network was updated in 2010 with the use of advanced IP technology from Cisco systems. Combined with a new session initiated protocol (SIP) message engine developed by INdigital, these core processing platforms will all allow the acceptance, routing and delivery of text messages using interim standards now being developed. This provides a direct channel for emergency calls from deaf and hard-of-hearing residents who can’t use text today.
- In some regions, there is a segmented IP network that allows counties to transport wireline calls across the same IP network through the SIP protocol. Many of these 911 authorities have eliminated the 1960/80’s era analog CAMA links, and their services is entirely digital. It also allows the counties to use the IN911 network as an Emergency Services Internet (ESinet) for access to the national criminal information center (NCIC) and other IP base public safety networks.
- Indiana’s all digital network also allows for the collection and analysis of more detailed statistics than ever before. Among other things, the state can visually map the origination point of E9-1-1 calls to determine the status of emergency services throughout the entire state.
- INdigital has also developed many new applications for the PSAP, including a secure, web based toolkit (the NPTK) that shows call trends and history as well as allows the user to search for specific calls. Evolving call trends, such as the public’s reliance on non service initialized handsets are clearly visible in the online reporting of the NPTK.
- Through the Board’s programs, instant and no-cost access to simultaneous non-English to English translation service is also available to all PSAPS in the state. This further enhances access to life saving measures removing the limitations of a language barrier.