As with most technologies that is a tough question to provide a dollar amount answer to. Due to a number of variables in your technical requirements, current environment, and workforce deployment pricing can differ depending on your specific needs. First thing we need to do is consider these factors. If we discover you need an on-site appliance, professional implementation, Maintenance and Support, a certain number of endpoints, or a VPN Tunnel these can all affect the costs associated with the service. Let’s look at each item in our questionnaire as it will help provide a general idea of what to expect.
Do you have a 911 system in place today that supports current E911 legislation?
If so, great! Sounds like you’re in a good place. But keep in mind that this legislation has only recently evolved so keeping current is important. Also, it may not be integrated with some of your other technologies which we can help with. If not however, it’s important you start considering this now since compliance was mandated back in February of 2020. While the actual legislation varies state to state the applicability to MTLS that are manufactured, imported, offered for first sale or lease, first sold or leased, or installed after that date is unanimous. This mandate is part of Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s Act which are both included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act. It’s important to have a team that understands all the regulatory compliance requirements.
If yes, does it provide support for remote workers, multiple sites, mix of PBXs, etc.?
This is what we alluded to in the initial question. Some E-911 technologies offer either certain features or are available on certain platforms so as you start to grow and your needs start to evolve they can quickly get outdated. Additionally cloud technologies such as Microsoft Teams have recently rapidly been adopted in a pandemic era heavily dispersing workforces and creating a chaotic atmosphere. Ensuring your E-911 strategy stays current and interoperable across all platforms will help us guarantee you keep your colleagues safe.
What is your UC environment? (IP/TDM? Hybrid environment? Headquarter/remote locations? SIP Trunks?)
Again, many technical considerations so we want to make sure we correctly customize our platform to operate with your various tech stack that has already been adopted. Because you might need traffic to route over certain networks for redundancy or you may need an on premise appliance to correctly designate each connection we need to consider this environment as part of the overall architecture.
Are there any users who work remotely or who telecommute? If so, do 911 calls route to the appropriate 911 center local to the caller?
The first one is probably a silly question today, but in the case of manufacturing or production facilities this might at least vary with regards to just how much of your workforce is able to actually be remote. The most important question is the second one. Please also remember to consider this in the case of a failover because that can create a routing error which can result in these connections being misrouted. This can involve several of your existing suppliers so having a vendor-agnostic ERS (which we do) becomes important here.
Do you have an internal 911 response plan in place?
We certainly hope you do given all of the happenings in the current day. But we do want to understand it as part of the larger solution. This helps us understand who needs to be notified, how, and what action they then need to take. Since a robust E-911 solution will generally include various ways to notify multiple people ensuring we understand these components will help us be thorough in our recommendations.
Do you test outgoing 911 calls for accuracy?
As we mentioned previously this is important given not just your network, but the way everyone connects to it. Not just when everything is running smoothly, but also in the case of a failover if you have more than one location a call could route through.
Are on-site personnel immediately notified via text message, email, or screen-pop when 911 is dialed?
This goes back to the importance of understanding your current overall 911 response plan. You need multiple ways to notify multiple people in the case of an emergency in order to act fast. Reinforcing the importance of the actual legislation this has to do with not just who gets notified, but how. Emergency responders need as much information as possible to quickly locate the individual who has dialed 911.
Do outgoing calls include dispatchable location information?
Not to harp in it, but this goes back to the crux of the issue. Where exactly is this person who needs help? In an increasingly remote environment your teams can be offsite just about anywhere using work devices. If something comes up that requires immediate attention it’s important to have a cloud-based technology to minimize your expense that immediately routes calls to a location that emergency teams can be immediately dispatched to.