My Vision of the PSAP of the Future

As an industry, 9-1-1 is on the threshold of some big changes. NG9-1-1 and consolidation are two. But those aren’t the only trends that will shape the PSAP of the future. Let me share my vision with you.

Every week, I read about more and more municipalities undertaking or expanding city-wide video surveillance initiatives. Of course, the focal point for these programs is typically the city surveillance center. But it’s my belief that the surveillance center needn’t be the sole beneficiary. It’s becoming increasingly evident to me that PSAPs can leverage this real-time information for situation intelligence too.

For instance, let’s say a call comes into 9-1-1 to report a crime in progress. Having access to real-time, location-specific video could enable the 9-1-1 dispatcher to immediately see what’s happening and relay this information to first responders as they’re dispatched to the scene. Or, let’s say a 9-1-1 center is alerted to a serious traffic accident that’s backing up traffic on a major city artery. Could the 9-1-1 dispatcher benefit from having access to real-time video from DoT cameras? Absolutely!

Now you can begin to imagine the countless situations where video could help dispatchers coordinate a better response.

When you think about it, there are many sources of real-time information that flow into city surveillance centers that could prove beneficial to PSAPs. Today, this information can be consolidated and correlated through PSIM. City-wide video surveillance can be merged with public and private video management systems (VMSs) and accessed seamlessly through one interface, allowing cities to significantly expand their surveillance reach. Gunshot detection, License Plate Recognition (LPR), weather systems, emergency/mass notification, traffic systems, and GIS can also be integrated. GIS integration, for example, gives operators a map-based view of video cameras and other sensors for a better visual picture of unfolding events.

The bottom line is – the same PSIM that delivers this situational awareness to the city surveillance center can also deliver situational awareness to the PSAP, so these entities can coordinate more effectively and share information. How can this be accomplished? One way is to simply designate the PSAP as another user of the existing PSIM solution used in the surveillance center. A second option is to leverage PSIM to make additional information available through the interface already used by dispatchers – CAD. (That’s right – CAD is one of many systems that PSIM can integrate to!) Through CAD integration, dispatchers are able to view live video feeds and city surveillance center operators can access real-time information on units dispatched, leading to better collaboration.

Are you involved in public safety communications? What’syour vision of the PSAP of the future? I’d like to hear your perspective. E-mail me at

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