Canadian experts meet to talk about future of 9-1-1 system

E-Comm Vice-President of Technology Services Mike Webb shares insights into the future of emergency communications during CACP conference.
E-Comm Vice-President of Technology Services Mike Webb shares insights into the future of emergency communications during CACP conference.

As Canada moves toward implementing Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1)—updating and modernizing the country’s 9-1-1 infrastructure by moving to an IP-based system—the resulting impact on emergency communications centres is top-of-mind for industry professionals.

It was also the focus of a presentation by E-Comm’s Vice-President of Technology Services Mike Webb at the most recent Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) Information and Communication Technology Workshop.

Webb’s presentation highlighted the need to consider impacts of NG9-1-1 from not only technological and operational perspectives but from the human perspective as well. This is because the additional functionality that NG9-1-1 will facilitate will have an impact on 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers. For example, text communication will result in the loss of background noise, voice cues from 9-1-1 callers and location information. Receiving photos or videos from emergency situations will also result in significant changes to how 9-1-1 calls are handled in terms storage, privacy and the emotional well-being of staff who come into contact with them. These are all important issues that need to be addressed.

The bi-annual CACP workshop was held in February and focused on furthering the development of the Canadian Community Safety Information Management Strategy, which sets goals and identifies key national priorities to enhance governance, planning, technology, training and exercises in support of enhanced information sharing among community safety stakeholders in Canada. Topics discussed were timely in the context of law enforcement, with leaders and experts exploring the value of new information and communications technologies in challenging economic times and opportunities to maximize service delivery through partnerships and innovation. The workshop also presented ideas about enabling a mobile workforce, protecting our information in times of increasing cyber threats and leveraging business intelligence and analytics to improve community safety.

The next CACP conference will be held in Ottawa later this year. For more information visit CACP.ca.