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3 Ways to Improve E911 with the Cloud
The number of people working remotely has increased substantially in recent years. Facilitating smooth collaboration across distributed workforces continues to be a priority for organizations, as modern corporate cultures favor flexibility and autonomy over their schedules.
As this trend grows, enterprise decision-makers need to ensure that the communications services they provide their remote employees have the same safety and access to emergency services as an on-premises solution.
E911 — or enhanced 911 — services help make this a reality and are vital to a company’s overall business health. E911 services dispatch the emergency call to the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) and pinpoint the precise location of where a call is originating from. This makes it easier for first responders to find and help the caller in an emergency.
Regulations like Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’S Act require enterprises and communication service providers (CSPs) to work together to deliver emergency notifications to appropriate support personnel. E911 solutions help provide responders with detailed location information on where a caller is located. Organizations with large campuses can take safety precautions to the next level by providing more accurate location information to public safety, setting the stage for faster emergency response times and a safer enterprise.
So, how do E911 services apply to the growing remote workforce?
To provide accurate and timely location tracking through E911, enterprises can enable softphone applications for their teams. Enterprises need solutions that adapt with users working remotely and provide real-time location information that public safety personnel would need during an emergency.
To provide this type of service, enterprises can leverage the cloud, as cloud-based communication services enable scalable and flexible interactions between employees and customers. These services are easy to implement and expand, require little to no hands-on maintenance, and have low provisioning costs. Migrating communication services to the cloud and maintaining “business as usual” during this process can be done if IT decision-makers partner with carriers to define clear objectives that will address customers’ changing needs while delivering ROI on IT investments.
With a scalable and reliable cloud-based communications platform, enterprises can then ensure the protection of their remote employees through robust E911 capabilities — an integral part of an emergency plan. However, it is up to carriers and communications service providers (CSPs) to ensure their E911 services are up to date and comply with the latest regulations.
Business leaders can partner with CSPs and modern telco carriers to strengthen emergency plans with E911 capabilities. Outlined below are a few ways businesses can keep their remote users and employees safe with E911:
- Update remote workers provisioned locations. A provisioned location is the address associated with a phone number’s emergency address. Updating these locations allows a business to edit the location associated with their employee or customer’s phone number. Locations can be provisioned for the office or an employee’s home if they are working remotely. This way, if they dial 911, the call will be dispatched to the appropriate PSAP based on their location. Options that prompt users to update their current address, for example at the time of login, are helpful to expedite and simplify this process.
- Turn on emergency alerts. If remote employees are on a corporate network or using a phone number associated with their organization, employers must turn on emergency notifications. These emergency alerts, also a requirement of Kari’s Law, let employers know when one of their workers has dialed 911. Although many employees use their personal cell phones when they are working remotely, it is wise for businesses to verify device usage to ensure their employees are properly protected. Employers can partner with their carriers to determine if these alerts still need to be set up, or if they are already in action.
- Explore and set dynamic 911 location options. With an increase in the workforce relying on collaboration tools such as Unified Meeting 5 and Cisco WebEx for calling and messaging, it is important that users are still protected and have access to emergency resources. Businesses can set dynamic emergency calling options and configure network settings on these collaboration tools to set the location of their remote employees. More and more conferencing collaboration platforms intelligently route 911 calls to the appropriate PSAP based on where the caller is calling from. Their location is identified whether they’re at home or at the office.
Protecting employees and other stakeholders is an important responsibility of business leaders. By migrating communications to the cloud, enterprises can access an abundance of communications tools that they can use to personalize to the needs of their individual organizations and keep employees safe, no matter where they are working from. Business leaders may also find it is time to dust off emergency plans and consider ways to leverage cloud-based tools to deliver pressing information to stakeholders. Many will find that investing will be beneficial to business preparedness and continuity in the event of an emergency.