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Jun 21, 2019 | Elevate Blog

NENA 2019 Conference and Expo - A Quantum Leap for 9-1-1: The Vertical Plane & Handset-Derived Location

Tags: E911

Earlier this week I had the privilege of presenting on a panel at the NENA 2019 Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida. The NENA organization supports Emergency Number Professionals (ENPs) who are the call-takers in PSAPs. Much of the conference is spent in training and board meetings for NENA and related organizations, and key learnings and best practices are shared.  I was invited to speak on a panel with John Snapp, VP of Technology, West Public Safety Services, and Chuck Spaulding, NG911 Director for Palm Beach County.

This panel included a discussion about regulatory and market drivers that have led us to this point, where 3D location with floor-level accuracy is a proposed requirement for locating E9-1-1 callers, which has the added benefit of increasing the safety of first responders as well, since they can now be located in the field, improving situational awareness. I reviewed the various types of 3D location technologies, both tested and untested, to familiarize the audience with the pros and cons of each capability. I was happy to explain how ‘over the top’ software hybrid solutions provide the most benefits – they are agnostic of wireless operator networks, allow any wireless device to be used, enable improved location features, and, most importantly, are available today.

I was very pleased by the reception and well-informed questions from the audience, who wanted to understand the differences between what we do and device-based location, as well as the latency of our location delivery, which, as you can imagine, is vital in an emergency situation where every second counts.

Beyond the panel I participated in, this year’s conference was full of great information, including:

  • An update from Lisa Fowlkes, FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Chief, who discussed the resiliency of networks during emergencies, availability and 911 location accuracy, and locating indoor callers, specifically the 4th Report and Order for indoor and z-axis location.
  • Dan Henry and Brandon Abley from NENA gave their own update on z-axis proceedings, which included the need for standardization and the integration of Z-axis location into NG911 systems.
  • The conference also featured a robust exhibitor showcase which included our partner Mark43 and some interesting applications from RapidDeploy, GeoComm, and other technology innovators.

All in all it was a very informative and up to date conference and I’m honored to have been invited to participate. If you are interested in learning more or getting my slides from the conference email me at kkessenich@polariswireless.com.

Karl Kessenich is the Washington, D.C.-based Executive Director of Business Development for Polaris Wireless.  In this role, Karl focuses on the relationship with wireless operators and technology partners seeking to enhance their ability to provide high-accuracy location solutions to public safety organizations and commercial customers.  Karl also leads Polaris Wireless’ advocacy to regulatory agencies, particularly the FCC, and industry associations focused on public safety.  Karl joined Polaris Wireless with over two decades of leadership in the wireless industry with a specific focus on location technology and public safety.

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