For Anderson County, the biggest value in the switch to Everbridge is message speed and convenience. Previously, they were using a system that required a launch code, personal code, and username to send notifications. This was time-consuming and cumbersome when in a hurry. Everbridge speeds up the notification process drastically, especially on the reverse 911 side.
There has been a tremendous amount of change around public safety over the last few years, especially regarding 911. Keeping up with Next-Generation 911 technology (NG911) and the wealth of information can certainly be overwhelming. To make matters worse, emergency callers are more mobile than ever before.
Dispatchers have a duty to deliver emergency services to those in need efficiently and effectively. However, many emergency call centers are facing challenges in getting today’s highly mobile society the help they need. Namely, it has become increasingly difficult to pinpoint who is calling and where they are located. This difficulty has caused major lags in emergency response times and dispatch centers, which are frequently understaffed, have become overworked and overstressed.
Read on to learn the top challenges dispatchers are facing, why these challenges exist, and what solutions work to close the gaps in emergency technologies today.
What is the History of 911 …and Why Doesn’t It Work Today?
The old 911 system was predicated upon an emergency caller’s phone being tied to a static location, which could then be easily accessed through a database. So, when a person dialed 911 the emergency dispatcher had access to vital information based off the caller’s phone number, such as name and exact location. However, emergency operators today are receiving, at the very least, 80% of their calls from mobile devices and this number is likely much higher.
Today, people are calling for emergency services from anywhere and everywhere with phones that are no longer associated with a known location. With an estimated 240 million calls made to 911 services in the US each year, this means that 192 million calls coming into dispatch centers are made from devices which traditional 911 systems were not built to locate.
As a result, emergency dispatchers are faced with distressed mobile callers that either cannot speak or cannot identify their own location e.g. they are travelling for work in a different state or are in an unfamiliar part of town. Since the incoming information attached to mobile devices is often automatically based off triangulation, the location associated with the caller may encompass an area of about ¾ square mile. For the dispatcher, it then becomes nearly impossible to effectively and efficiently direct help where it needs to go, especially when dealing with a dense urban area.
Dispatch centers and emergency operators need to be able to reach today’s highly mobile society when they need it, where they need it. Because not only are emergency operators responsible for keeping our communities safe, but also keeping our responders safe as well. It is of utmost importance that responders are provided with easily-accessible, critical information so they can do their jobs more effectively.
Why the 911 System Needs Attention: Three Main Factors
Addressing the challenges presented by an increasingly mobile society will help dispatch centers understand what solutions are required for them to better serve their communities, employees, and responders. However, we also need to determine what factors are contributing to the difficulties in getting emergency callers the help they need.
The three main factors that have led to delays in response times are:
- Multiple databases are managed and updated by different organizations.
- Critical details may be provided at different times with information that may be missing.
- When information cannot be verified, it leads to extra steps in the procedures to release a call.
In the US, these factors are often due to the reality of non-standardized data across multiple carriers. This data streams in and requires dispatch centers to use different systems and technologies to sift through all the disparate data points to piece together the necessary information required for one single emergency. However, dispatch centers should not be the ones responsible for figuring out the gaps in technology.
Bringing systems together and providing a solution where information can be quickly established from the time of the incident is vitally important. Technology exists today that accounts for the challenges experienced by today’s emergency operators. Through one platform, dispatchers can look up a phone number and have a multitude of valuable information about the caller right in front of them. In some cases, this can be a lifesaving tool.
Closing the Gap: How Everbridge & Rapid SOS Can Help
Next-Gen 911 is an attempt to bring the 911 system into the mobile era. NG911 solutions now exist, such as Everbridge 911 Connect, a RapidSOS ready solution. Everbridge 911 Connect has been developed to fit the needs of modern dispatch centers fielding calls that come from all devices, whether mobile, landline, or VoIP. Dispatch centers can greatly benefit from solutions such as these, which eliminate the need to sift through disparate data streams — they can also stand to save time, labor, and stress of their operators.
NG911 solutions have multifold benefits such as providing dispatchers with incredibly valuable information such as location, name, address, and associated contacts to accelerate emergency response and improve its efficiency. Additionally, they may increase the number of successful phone number matches dispatchers receive when a 911 call comes in and reduce time to closeout operations procedures when there is silent or hang-up calls.
Learn more about how dispatch centers can benefit from NG911 solutions like Everbridge 911 Connect.
We are excited to announce that xMatters, an Everbridge company, outperformed PagerDuty in a recent GigaOm benchmark report!
The report took a deep dive into the features and functionality of the xMatters and PagerDuty platforms in a comprehensive head-to-head study based on tests conducted on both platforms. Being featured in a report of this scale, not only shows our efforts to keep businesses safe and operations running in physical and digital environments, but also reinforces our commitment to customer happiness and success.
Don’t just take our word for it, let’s see what GigaOm had to say!
xMatters by the Numbers
xMatters is a core Everbridge product that powers our innovative digital operations solution. It acts as a service reliability platform that allows organizations to automate operations, ensure applications are always working, and deliver remarkable products at scale. Through proprietary tools like Flow Designer, businesses can custom-build and design workflows and toolchains that meet the unique needs of your teams with simple drag-and-drop functionality.
In the GigaOm 2022 Benchmark Report, the research firm noted:
- xMatters is only 49% of the cost of PagerDuty for the same functionality.
- A Fortune 50 company can cut labor costs by 25% using xMatters.
- A Fortune 1000 company can avoid over $200 million in unplanned spending by implementing IT Incident Management Automation.
GigaOm dug deep into the xMatters platform and ran multiple tests: the detailed descriptions, findings, and benefits they resulted in can be found within the benchmark report.
Within that report, you can also gain insight into key xMatters features that allow users to rapidly assess and act quickly on service disruptions before they impact customer experience, and analyze problems and processes with 360-degree post-mortems to continuously improve processes and services.
xMatters and the Everbridge Digital Operations Platform
Since the acquisition of xMatters, Everbridge has continued to integrate this innovative tool into our solutions, offering our customers seamless access to this industry-leading platform. Today, xMatters powers our Digital Operations solution, a platform that enables agile service delivery models and provides organizational resilience for IT systems and digital services. In today’s ever-connected world, keeping people safe and businesses running is much more than a measure of physical security. Digital operations require resilience strategies that ensure long-term protection, and protecting against major incidents and operational disruption via xMatters is crucial.
Successfully monitor potential hazards, prepare and responding to incidents, and communicate in ways that reach most people with the right information, keeping them informed and safe.
One of the biggest roadblocks to providing consistently excellent customer experience is a breakdown of communication between customer support and technical teams. Too often support teams are left out of the loop when it comes to detailed incident information.
When customers experience an incident and call support, they expect status updates immediately. But without access to the right information, representatives are left guessing at best and providing incorrect answers at worst. This leads to confusion and frustration, for both representatives and customers alike.
Break Down the Wall Between Customer Support and Technical Teams
Customer-facing teams that are too far removed from incident management cannot readily understand the customer’s issue nor properly communicate the steps being taken toward resolution. Uniting support and tech teams within one centralized digital operations platform opens pathways of communication. This leads to a more informed customer support team, which results in better customer experiences.
While a digital operations platform may seem to cater only to IT and DevOps teams, customer support teams can find shared value in the centralization and automation of incident management. Within one centralized portal, customer support can see the technical team’s progress on incidents in real-time. This could be through:
- Incident dashboards
- Dedicated incident ChatOps channels
- Inclusion in conference calls
The incident’s resolvers can remain focused on the issue at hand, while customer support receives the information needed to provide excellent customer service.
If you’d like an example of how a customer’s experience can be improved with a digital operations platform, contact us.
How Can Everbridge’s Digital Operations Platform Help?
Everbridge’s Digital Operations Platform empowers customer support with access to real-time status updates and the ability to communicate with technical teams. This helps expedite the flow of information and keeps business units aligned on the state of incidents, which can also lead to a more proactive support stance.
Providing your support team with automated incident updates enables them to anticipate an issue and be ready with information for the customer when they inevitably call. Everbridge’s Digital Operations Platform also identifies flags before they become critical events, so that your teams can always stay ahead of an incident.