Preparing SLED for a New Era of Public Safety
A recent study from Pew found that almost half of Americans credit technology with improving life most in the past 50 years. It makes sense. Everything from the way curriculums are taught to how we navigate city streets has changed as a result of technological advancement, improving the quality of day-to-day life. But how are these lives being protected in today’s smart, digital world?
The Dire Need for Intelligent Public Safety
State, local and education government agencies (otherwise known as the SLED vertical) need to prepare for the next era of public safety by enabling faster and more accurate emergency response. This isn’t something that would be nice to have. Lives depend on it.
Since 2009, at least 177 of America’s schools experienced a shooting. There have been almost 300 terrorist attacks in our country since the year 2000. Just about every part of the U.S. has been hit by some form of a terrorist attack since 1970, with most being in the form of a bombing, followed by a facility attack and then armed assault. I take no joy in sharing these facts. What needs to change is our level of emergency response in order to prevent, or at the very least minimize the impact of, these horrific incidents.
This goes beyond improving costs and productivity. Intelligent public safety for SLED is about protecting humanity. Consider your parents, your children, your husband or your wife. The other day, I got a text from one of my college-aged sons about an active shooter training video that all students had to watch. It’s unsettling, yet unfortunately necessary.
Consider Kari Hunt, who was tragically murdered in her hotel room in 2013 after multiple failed attempts from her daughter to call 911. Medical examiners agree that had her daughter been able to reach emergency services, Kari would have survived the attack. Kari’s Law--named after Kari, going into effect February 16, 2020--was designed to ensure that anyone, anywhere can reach emergency services and vice versa with critical locational data (businesses that fail to comply risk fines of up to $10,000, learn more here).
This is why I work tirelessly in my role as Avaya’s Sales Leader for U.S. SLED. The kind of solutions we’re discussing, and the people we’re discussing them with, is extraordinarily different than the norm. Our team meets with state agencies to discuss the communications infrastructure that supports their child and protective services. We’re meeting with a state’s department of education to map out a plan for better student protection.
It’s my team’s job to ensure that when a person calls for help, they’re able to get it immediately and accurately; whether that’s contacting a city’s 311 service to find out why a bus is running late, providing city workers with the most up-to-date communications devices for getting the job done (learn more about Avaya’s Device-as-a-Service subscription) or getting a quick fix on location for a life-threatening 911 call. From transportation to public safety to education, I’m immensely proud of the work my team is doing to support what is truly the backbone of America.
The Time Is Now
A smart classroom or city essentially counts for nothing if not protected using intelligent public safety solutions. The onus is on the SLED vertical to meet this new standard that citizens and students deserve. Again, this is not something that would be “nice to have.” It’s desperately needed and starting next year will be federally mandated with regulations like Kari’s Law.
Today, you can get real-time situational awareness for faster reactions to emergency and non-emergency events using a solution like Avaya SENTRY. As the world’s first secure next-generation 911 (NG911) additional data repository (ADR) solution, SENTRY provides direct dial to 911, direct routing to a 911 center, and on-site notification of a 911 call that includes a detailed “dispatchable location” to any multi-line telephone system, ensuring compliance with Kari’s Law. The solution is unlike anything on the market today, earning Frost & Sullivan’s 2019 North America Product Leadership Award in the enterprise safety solutions market for Public Safety Solutions.
Outside of emergency response, you can get more relevant and meaningful citizen engagement using preferred forms of communication--anytime, anywhere, using ay device--to interact with smart city services. You can stay current by shifting high maintenance spending to a subscription model, equipping city staff with the best devices on the market for more personalized and efficient inter-agency communications. You can support schools with real-time omni-channel mass notification for emergency and non-emergency events (i.e. weather, campus activities), delivering higher value with data-driven insights and analytics.
I speak with dozens of state, local and education government agencies each week. I can confidently say that transitioning to next-generation public safety solutions is more than possible. It’s just a matter of taking that first step.
We may never know why horrible things happen in our world, but we do know that steps can be taken to improve public safety and emergency response. At Avaya, we take pride in supporting a large number of the nation’s top companies. Our history and legacy in the SLED vertical speaks volumes.
It’s my hope for 2020 that every state, local and education government agency embraces the latest in communications technology to respond faster and more accurately than ever before. Start planning now on how to productively engage with key government stakeholders about new public safety solutions. The technology is there, and the public needs it.