BAPCO calls for joined-up thinking on Next Gen 999

Thursday, September 12, 2019

BAPCO has advocated a “shared understanding” of the 999 service, asking stakeholders to see it as a complex integrated system rather than just focussing on their own areas of expertise.

The organisation also identifies “political and cultural barriers preventing the integration of new elements into a seamless network.” On the subject of procurement meanwhile, it suggests that the benefits of adoption need to be made clear, with informed choices made based on cost-effectiveness and need.
 
The observations come in a new white paper focussing on ‘Next Generation 999’, following on from the organisation’s similarly themed event earlier in the summer. Broadly speaking, Next Gen 999 refers to methods of contacting the emergency services using broadband data, rather than a traditional phone call.
  
Speaking of the findings published in the white paper, BAPCO CEO Ian Thompson said: “With every new device, app and feature, the public has ever-greater expectations that our emergency services and their supporting ecosystem will make full use of the best technology and information available, to keep us safe and to answer calls for help.
 
“We know the reality does not match those expectations. New features and functionality cost time and money and join an ever-growing list of competing priorities. This is as true for BT as it is for the emergency services.” 
 
He continued: “I am concerned we see apps emerging that have real potential benefit for the emergency services and for public safety providers. However, these cannot progress into the 999 system because as of today, BT can generally handle only voice calls and a limited number of messages via SMS.
 
“There are times when those in need cannot make a voice call. On other occasions, valuable information could be available from the scene, but the caller has no option to communicate other than by voice.”
 
Specific topics covered in the white paper include artificial intelligence, social media, governance, ‘the workplace’ and “the danger of data deluge.” 

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