Is the 9-1-1 QA Market Finally Maturing?

I’m just back from a week-long trip to Anaheim, CA for the annual APCO conference. It’s one of my favorite shows to attend because you get to meet people from different spectrums of Public Safety, share ideas, and see all of the new and hot products and solutions for 9-1-1.

APCO is also one of the largest shows for public safety communications professionals – so vendors tend to use it as a launching pad for 9-1-1 products. This year, we launched a new version of NICE Inform featuring some unique Quality Assurance (QA) capabilities. What’s different about this QA solution is that it’s not simply another recycled commercial call center QA application – it was actually designed from the ground up specifically for 9-1-1 centers. In the spirit of NG9-1-1 the Inform QA application allows supervisors to evaluate incidents, comprised of multimedia communication inputs, from start to end. QA reviews are no longer limited to a single 9-1-1 call. Instead they can encompass every aspect of an incident – from the 9-1-1 call to the dispatch radio transmissions, GIS, video, CAD screens, text-to-911, and everything in between.

I met with many agencies at APCO, and the good news is that all of them employ some form of QA. The bad news – for most of them, QA is a tedious, manual process. Everyone I spoke with was thirsting for a more automated solution.

The realization also seems to be sinking in that QA is going to take on an even more central role in future PSAPs. With NG9-1-1, for example, the amount and type of information flowing into the PSAP will greatly surpass what’s delivered by current E9-1-1. I’m also observing parallel trends where PSAPs are starting to take in surveillance video and other sources of big data for richer intelligence. While these technologies will help future PSAPs deliver higher quality service to the public, they’ll also create new complexities which will demand the development and adoption of new processes. Effective QA solutions will be essential if PSAPs want to continue to meet the public’s high service expectations in the midst of such far reaching changes.

One other thing I observed at APCO this year was an increased interest in QA solutions that comply with standards like CALEA, APCO Project 33, and others. This provides further evidence that the 9-1-1 Quality Assurance market is maturing. However, as one show visitor explained, while the standards point out a general need for QA, there is still a need for specificity around the functionality a QA solution should provide.

To learn more about some of these trends, take a look at this video interview conducted by Urgent Communications’ editor-in-chief Glenn Bischoff.

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