Focus on Functionality: Integrated SMS

Implementing SMS is just the beginning – so the goal is to keep it as simple as possible. Considering the functionality will be used every day, how can we minimize change and make it easy on Calltakers as we migrate to NG9-1-1? Here is one good example.

Like with any new technology, SMS implementation will have technical hurdles. But once you go live, what’s the functionality like?

That’s a critical question among Calltakers who will be dealing with the functionality of the system every day for many years to come.

What we heard from you all year is that minimizing change and making the process of managing Text-to-9-1-1 calls seamless for Calltakers are critical in keeping your communities connected and safe when it matters most. That’s why integration of Text-to-9-1-1 into the existing call handling platform makes all the difference.

Fortunately, the VESTA® SMS solution delivers on that and so much more.

See for yourself how easy the VESTA SMS solution is in this short video. And below it are a few recent insights from those leading the charge into the NG9-1-1 world.

sms and voice from Airbus DS Communications on Vimeo.

What PSAPs Have to Say

Chester County Department of Emergency Services, Pennsylvania, was using a web-based Text-to-9-1-1 system and this fall migrated to the VESTA SMS solution. John Haynes, Deputy Director for 9-1-1, said:

“The public’s embrace of texting for help encouraged us to adopt a more full-featured solution. Some call centers see misuse of Text-to-9-1-1 — reporting casual non-emergencies or use of extreme abbreviation. But Chester County residents have used the new tool judiciously and thoughtfully. So, we’re outfitting our call centers with the best Text-to-9-1-1 solution on the market to build on that success.”

Collier County Sheriff’s Office in Naples, Florida, was one of the first PSAPs in the country to use the VESTA SMS solution. The department first adopted a web-based Text-to-9-1-1 system in 2014 and then transitioned to the VESTA SMS solution in 2015. Vanessa Rodriguez, a Senior Dispatcher at the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, said that the integrated approach makes answering text messages exactly like answering a voice call.

“Integrating texting with voice is so important because it means Calltakers don’t have to think about how to manage the technology as we adapt to the unique challenges of a Text-to-9-1-1 call for help. Having text functionality as an additional window on the VESTA® 9-1-1 Call Handling screen is a big improvement over the web-based application Collier County had before. Everything is in one location, and using the same process and same system for text and voice calls makes a huge difference.”

Brazos Valley Council of Governments (BVCOG) in Southeast Texas was the first Public Safety agency in the nation to deliver a native Text-to-9-1-1 message through Call Handling equipment—not a third-party texting or messaging application. Anita Pitt, 9-1-1 Program Manager for BVCOG, said:

"Our Calltakers are impressed with the ease of use of the VESTA SMS functionality and how naturally it fits into the classic call taking process. From a management standpoint, [integration into VESTA® Analytics] allows us to take a deeper, more critical look at all aspects of the call center, including SMS calls for assistance."

For more information about the VESTA SMS solution, contact us at VESTAMarketing@airbus-dscomm.com. It makes our day to hear from you!