Making Text-to-9-1-1 Easy for Calltakers

When we make the job easier for Calltakers, everyone wins. Find out how we integrated text-to-9-1-1 into the recently released VESTA® SMS solution to make it as seamless as taking a call.

You likely know that your Airbus DS Communications team has been hard-at-work to bring our VIP Calltakers a solution that will not only give them the latest technology, but make their jobs easier. And the moment has come to proudly announce that our VESTA® SMS solution is in full swing! The VESTA SMS solution is the major new functionality available with the VESTA 9-1-1 Release 6.0.0.

What's different about the VESTA SMS solution from a web-based approach is that it integrates Short Message Service (SMS) functionality seamlessly into the VESTA® 9-1-1 call processing solution. Yes, it took some time to get it just right but PSAPs tell us, "This is exactly what we have been waiting for."

So, how does integrated SMS make the Calltakers’ job easy? With the application built inside the VESTA 9-1-1 solution, Calltakers can handle SMS calls just like they do voice calls. As a result, they don’t have to go through a big change or learn a new tool or process. The task and apprehension of taking on Text-to-9-1-1 becomes much easier for everyone with less disruption in a PSAP's day-to-day operations.

Here’s a quick look at what we are learning from PSAPs on the benefits of the VESTA SMS solution:

  • They have a Next Generation solution that is NENA i3 compliant, setting the stage for future Next Generation initiatives
  • Training is simplified, with the work flow consistent with how they handle voice calls.
  • The solution is easy to operate and flexible. It supports multiple text queues, and supervisors can designate which Calltakers handle SMS sessions.
  • Calltakers don't have to toggle between applications when handling voice and text calls, like they do with web-based Text-to-9-1-1.

Text-to-9-1-1, as many of you have said, is the first major step into the Next Gen world, and we know you have questions, such as: When is the time right to implement SMS? What are the drawbacks to an integrated solution? Isn’t a web-based solution easier? What about network costs? We are here to help answer these questions and guide you on the path that is the best for your PSAP.

What we’ve seen from our initial VESTA SMS implementations is that planning is essential. In fact, we have three quick tips for planning:

  • Engage Early – Multiple parties are involved in implementing Text to 9-1-1, which is one of the reasons to start planning months in advance.
  • Know the Who and What – Understand who the players are and their roles so you can manage expectations.
  • Align the Team – Airbus DS Communications, your network provider, service provider and TCC provider (Text Control Center) must all be on the same page regarding your project plan and schedule.

To help PSAPs plan, we have prepared a Quick Reference Guide that shares how to implement SMS, answers questions many of you have, includes forms that need to be completed, provides a step-by-step approach on how to manage all of the players and includes links to two short videos that give you feedback from PSAPs that are using the VESTA SMS solution today.

Keeping the needs of our Calltakers front and center is paramount, especially when it comes to making their job easier. Our joint efforts are best summed up in our video on Brazos Valley Council of Governments (BVCOG) with 911 Program Manager, Anita Pitt. Anita shared this quote from Calltakers at the Washington County PSAP when they finished their VESTA SMS training. The Calltakers looked at each other and said with confidence, “Yeah, we can do this!” There’s nothing better we love to hear.

For more information, don’t hesitate to CONTACT US. We love hearing from you.