As a kid, I grew up watching the Jetson’s, Back to the Future trilogy, Quantum Leap, Star Trek and other television shows and movies that made predictions on how our society would evolve. While some things came true, including the Simpsons prediction from 2000 of Donald Trump as our President, I am still waiting for my flying car that folds up into my briefcase. On this note, I would like to make some bold predictions and visions on what a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) will look like in 2029.
The 2029 PSAP will be more of an information clearinghouse than 911 answering point. Although voice calls will always have prominence, the social networking components that are being integrated today will be of great importance. Social Networking positions will be in most centers; text and videos calling through Skype, Facetime and new platforms will be dispatched in greater volume. Internet of Things (IOT) data will be commonly shared providing vehicle metrics, highway sensors, river levels, alarms, and medical information will aid in increasing incident situational awareness. In addition, artificial intelligence providing analytics of historical information will play an increasingly important role in scheduling and training as well as alerting law enforcement to patterns and trends within the community.
Security threats will continue to rise as the importance of the mission and the value of the data increases. Most major centers will have an information security officer assigned for monitoring and mitigating threats.
Staff shortages, declining budgets, and rising costs will accelerate call handling and dispatch consolidation and automation. Today, many agencies fear that removing dispatch from the servicing area removes the knowledge of the local geography. However, thanks to such companies as RapidSOS, device-based location is replacing the network-based wireless tower triangulation method to provide increasingly accurate locations. The accuracy is only going to keep improving as Internet-based calling and device location accuracy is addressed. Next Generation Smart Maps with multiple layers enhance situational awareness. Handing off calls from one PSAP to another will occur less, which results in decreased response times.
Most of these technologies are starting to be rolled out today with great success. I believe that automation in the PSAP is the next new frontier. One argument that can be made is that during an emergency, no one wants to talk to an automated attendant. But is it worse to get endless calls on hold music? What if, using interactive voice response technology, it was determined that the nature of your call was cardiac and instead of being connected to a call taker, you were connected to an EMT? There will always be a need to have a human element within PSAPs as even the best automated system will not have empathy nor the caring of the human heart. However, if automation can improve response and outcome, it needs to be considered.
I am proud to say that my company, MicroAutomation, is a pioneer in Contact Center Automation. We have a wealth of learned lessons in enterprise-grade call centers that are leading the industry in engaged communication and look forward to appropriately implementing these types of technology in the nation’s PSAPs. Integrated language solutions could eliminate the need for high cost, long response translator services. Why should a large hotel chain know more about their clients than a PSAP knows about the citizen calling them? If this blog raised any concerns about your current technology please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I would love the opportunity to help guide you towards making your community safer.