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9-1-1 Industry Leaders Successfully Test Next-Generation Technologies That Improve Security and Accessibility

Between February 22nd and March 5th, 2021, NENA: The 9-1-1 Association brought together more than a dozen public safety technology companies for the latest Industry Collaboration Event (ICE 9). The ICE series allows vendors to test leading-edge products and services that will advance Public Safety from legacy E9-1-1 capabilities to the data-rich, IP-based world of next generation (NG) emergency communications.

The hands-on, standards-driven testing performed at this event – 100% remotely, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – yielded a number of significant firsts and other meaningful results:

  • The first-ever ICE held in conjunction with the European Emergency Number Association (EENA) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). ICE 9 took place concurrently with the NG112 Plugtests #4, hosted by EENA and ETSI, and was the first coordinated ICE test of emergency call routing across international borders using voice, video, and text to simulate international roaming scenarios.
  • The first-ever ICE to use certificates issued by the PSAP Credentialing Agency for TLS and mutual authentication, recognizing the fundamental importance of identity validation and encryption between functional elements in next generation emergency services networks;
  • The first-ever ICE held with participation from Mobile Network Operators – live calls were initiated with commercially-available cellular devices on public cellular networks using voice and text (RTT), testing accessibility to emergency services through means other than traditional voice calls; and
  • The first-ever ICE to use next generation location retrieval methods to obtain mobile caller locations from live, production Mobile Network Operator networks, both during call setup as well as location rebids from call handling systems.

The testing and lessons learned from ICE 9 help ensure that NG9-1-1 provides the services and the level of reliability required for IP-based, mission-critical public safety communications, while supporting accessibility to NG9-1-1 service for all citizens making requests for assistance.

“These first-ever international NG9-1-1 and NG112 tests allow us to evaluate our consensus-based standards internationally,” said NENA President Gary Bell, ENP. “This enables public safety to not only interoperate internationally, but also to expand the field of technical solutions available to organizations in the United States and Europe.”

“ETSI and EENA are delighted to have collaborated on this milestone intercontinental testing event. Crossing borders and oceans, the event helped to ensure efficient, interoperable emergency communications for all citizens. We believe that the testing will make a significant contribution to public safety in Europe and the USA, driving forward the implementation of lifesaving Next Generation communications in our continents,” said Cristina Lumbreras, Technical Director, EENA and ETSI-EMTEL chair.

“MicroAutomation was appreciative to be able to participate in the fourth NG112 Emergency Communications Plugtest,” Says Keith Blackmon, MicroAutomation SVP. “It was a great experience being able to work with other trusted vendors to conduct transatlantic testing of the ESInet emergency calls from Europe to the USA. We were thrilled to be able to contribute and look forward to participating in other NG9-1-1 testing sessions in the future.”

ICE 9 participants validated compliance with current NG9-1-1 and NG112 standards for these tests, gaining knowledge that only collaborative, multi-party testing can provide. The result was improved understanding of how solutions built on the two sets of standards defined by NENA and ETSI (TS 103 479) can successfully interoperate in a global next generation ecosystem.

NENA thanks the Illinois Institute of Technology, School of Applied Technology in Wheaton, IL for providing the network in support of ICE 9 and their contribution to the planning and successful execution of this event. NENA also thanks ETSI and EENA for their collaboration in making this landmark event successful.

Further details about ICE 9 are available here and further details on NG112 Plugtests #4 are available here.