AT&T unveils personalized 911 service

AT&T (NYSE: T) on Tuesday unveiled a new 911 service that enables any person to create their own online profile. The service debuted during this week's APCO International Conference and Expo in Minneapolis.

With the new Smart911 service, a user can create personal profiles online that can be automatically displayed on a 911 operator's screens, preparing police, fire or Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) to more effectively respond to an emergency situation.

"Given the critical nature of what public safety to the community and how communications services can be leveraged to help them be more safe and secure services we are looking more and more into services that we can offer the public safety community to be more productive," said Bob Sloan, Area Vice President of Public Safety Solutions for AT&T, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "Smart911 is a service that provides citizens in the community to provide and create a profile on a Smart911 site in a secure manner that allows them put information on disabilities, special needs, locations of important rooms or other important information."

Delivered through a partnership with Rave Mobile Safety, a provider of software for campus and public safety, any citizen can access the service if their local Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) has installed the software to support the service.

Any citizen interested in using the service will be able to create their own SmartSafety profiles, which are collected in a highly secure Smart911 database, by going to www.smart911.com. At that site they can register all of their landline and wireless phones and their unique profile.

Someone that has an allergy would be listed in their SmartSafety profile so 911 operators can properly inform EMTs, even if the caller isn't able to speak, for example.

The service could also be useful parents of missing children as they can include pictures of them in their SmartSafety profiles, allowing 911 operators to send the picture to police officers if a child ever goes missing.

Set to go live in September throughout the United States, Sloan said the service will have two potential benefits: accelerating the 911 call and dispatching process.

"When a citizen makes a 911 call off of the phone that's registered to that profile, their profile appears to the PSAP 911 dispatcher and he or she has that information on their screen when the call arrives," he said. "This means that the dispatcher is not in a position to have to ask for that background information from the callers, but in fact have that available and if they need to confirm they'll confirm."

Sloane added that it "puts them in a much better position to have much more information available to them in real-time and also provides it to them where you have a citizen calling in crisis who is not in the best position to provide information the way they need it where Smart911 has it available."

The end result is that the PSAP dispatcher can accelerate the time it would take to get a first responder to the person in an emergency.

Announcing the new service during APCO was strategic in that it enabled the service provider to get the attention of various public safety agencies.

Stopping short of providing specific details, Sloan said that the telco will reveal more of its public safety sector activity in the coming months.

"We thought it was important to announce the service during the APCO association meeting this week," he said. "Given the amount of public safety agencies attending that show and some of the other work we're doing with 911 we thought it was a good time to bring it forth as we're rolling it out next month."

For more:
- see the release

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