New U.S. patent for technology supporting text-to-911 functionality announced by LaaSer Critical Communications

Nov. 7, 2017

LaaSer Critical Communications has received a U.S. patent for its emergency caller location technology. The newest patent covers systems and methods associated with locating people who use text-to-911 and routing their messages to the appropriate public safety answering point (PSAP), as well as providing accurate location data on anyone sending an emergency text.

Many of the same challenges that apply to voice call routing and caller geolocation likewise apply to those using SMS or other alternative methods of communicating with 911. In fact, texting even introduces a few new issues. For instance, texting is an asynchronous form of communication, so any delays caused by improper routing are amplified. Currently, fewer than a quarter of the nation’s 6,000-plus PSAPs can receive text messages from the public, but that number is growing rapidly.

In May 2014, the four major wireless carriers agreed to provide text functionality to 911 call centers if requested. That functionality must be delivered within six months of any request. The FCC encourages all PSAPs to accept 911 communications via SMS, but individual call centers must decide if and how to implement this service given its infrastructure, budget, and other considerations. Part of LaaSer’s mission is to make these decisions a no-brainer for PSAPs by delivering an optimal solution that ensures that alternative methods of communicating with 911 are able to work with accurate location and appropriate routing.

As with voice calls, a significant technical challenge with modern 911 systems is ensuring that the right PSAP receives the message. This challenge is especially pronounced near jurisdictional boundaries where cell tower coverage regions overlap. Affected municipalities must study the local geography in deciding how best to route calls. But with mobile phone users, this strategy becomes complicated because individual cell towers coverage areas can span multiple jurisdictions.

LaaSer takes advantage of the sophisticated technologies that are loaded into virtually every modern handset, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. The system precisely locates a caller—or texter—at the moment the communication is initiated, ensuring that call routing is optimal. LaaSer does not introduce any delay to the system. Nor does the company’s solution require the replacement of legacy systems.

When an individual sends a text to a call center that does not accept SMS communications, the wireless carrier must send a bounce-back message informing the texter of this fact. The FCC has published a master list of PSAPs that support text-to-911; this list is updated each month.

LaaSer’s latest patent comes on the heels of—and builds upon—a similar patent covering voice caller location technology.

PR Newswire has the full release

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