What is the Difference Between Smart911 and Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1)?

Picture of Matt Serra, ENP By Matt Serra, ENP

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With recent news coverage of wireless location accuracy challenges, the formation of coalitions to speed the adoption of NG9-1-1, and an increasing number of NG9-1-1 implementations, more and more frequently we at Rave are being asked, "What is the difference between Smart911 and Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1)?"

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NG9-1-1 is the industry’s vision for how 9-1-1 calls can be processed after moving to internet-based technology. This means 9-1-1 can accept more than just voice calls, adding the ability to request assistance via text and video – eventually from any internet-connected device.  NG9-1-1 also provides 9-1-1 with a platform that can quickly grow to match the needs of the community, share emergency services between communities, and even send all calls to a different 9-1-1 call center in the event of an outage or large-scale disaster. All of these are difficult or impossible to do with today’s 9-1-1 network.

NG9-1-1 also provides a way to send data “alongside” a 9-1-1 call. For example, imagine placing a call for 9-1-1, and having your name, frequented addresses, pre-existing medical conditions, and emergency contacts instantly available to 9-1-1 and first responders. Imagine placing a call from a large university campus, a shopping mall, or a corporate facility knowing that responders know exactly where to go to gain access to the building, and are able to reference floor plans to know exactly where to find you.

While NG9-1-1 provides a way to send such data, it does not provide tools to collect, store, validate, and manage this complex data. NG9-1-1 is also an emerging technology. It has taken a nearly a decade to develop the standards and get a small fraction of the nation’s 6,000+ 9-1-1 call centers on line. Yet even in these areas, you cannot send video or data alongside an emergency call with the NG9-1-1 network in place – more work remains.

Smart911 is software offered by Rave Mobile Safety. Smart911 is a national database that provides additional life-saving data to 1000’s of 9-1-1 call centers across the county. Smart911 is the “missing piece” which collects, stores, validates, and manages data for millions of individuals and thousands of education, business, healthcare, and government facilities.  We are strong supporters of NG9-1-1 and are confident it is the right path. However, we have seen where providing the right information at the right time can alter the outcome of an emergency. That is why we designed Smart911 to deliver data to any 9-1-1 call center subscribing to our service, regardless of whether it has upgraded to NG9-1-1.

While the journey to nationwide NG9-1-1 will take years, its promise of driving more data into 9-1-1 is ready now. We look forward to being your partner before, during, and after the transition to NG9-1-1.

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Matt Serra, ENP

Written by Matt Serra, ENP

Matt Serra is the Vice President of Product Strategy at Rave Mobile Safety. Matt has over 25 years of experience in the technology industry and is a certified Emergency Number Professional.

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