Corporations are rapidly adopting mobile technologies as a key productivity tool. Telephone service using the Internet, both mobile and fixed, is experiencing exponential growth. Residential Internet phones, (commonly referred to as Voice over IP or VoIP) are expected to top 5 million by 2006. A key issue is maintaining critical system features, especially those related to safety and location identification. The lack of reliable emergency call information is slowing industry transition and growth.
The project attempts to make significant progress in the resolution of open access problems. Cell phone deployment happened without sufficient consideration of emergency services. Given the projections of small office/home office conversion to Internet communications and the growing dependence of a mobile workforce on Internet-based communications, research examining effective and efficient support for 911 will facilitate productivity and safety.
Present day 911 systems provide accurate, timely telephone number and location information concerning the caller originating an emergency call. This process, initially developed over 30 years ago, routes calls to the appropriate Emergency Communications Center (ECC) through traditional circuit switches and selection routers (used to determine the destination of the emergency call). The ECC then does a database lookup that adds the location information to the caller number identification information. The process is dependent upon circuit switched technology and centralized proprietary databases to provide location information.
Texas A&M Research Foundation will define and prototype technologies addressing the time-critical issue of location identification for Internet-based phones and other communication devices. Cost-effective solutions for Internet-based emergency phone calls or I-911, consistent with today's 911 response standards, will be developed. Ways in which the expanded capabilities of Internet-based communications, in particular video, may be incorporated into emergency transmissions will be explored.