The Evolution of E911 and Protecting the Remote Workforce

Posted on May 18, 2020

This article is condensed and originally appeared in Telecom Reseller.

The remote workforce has been a growing trend for the last decade; however, as external market factors and internal employee preferences change, the number of people working outside of traditional office settings have skyrocketed at an unprecedented rate.

As a new presence of distributed enterprises emerge, business IT decision makers and UC buyers have an opportunity to enhance their IT investments through adoption of VoIP and other cloud-based tools to ensure smooth operations across a distributed workforce.

VoIP and cloud-based tools are beneficial to businesses as they help facilitate agile connection and can be scaled as needs changes. These tools also support innovation and can improve existing service offerings; however, in this age of remote workers and increased mobility, most phone numbers are no longer tied to physical addresses.

Unlike landline phone numbers, which are literally wired to locations, VoIP phone numbers are more nomadic. Through VoIP, calls can be placed anywhere with an internet connection and as a result could come from an IP address associated with a call server located miles away from the call origin. This has created some challenges for first responders and dispatch operators. If an emergency occurs, it can be difficult for 911 operators and the network to know where to send the call and more importantly, where to send first responders.

Luckily, Enhanced 911 (E911) capabilities help mitigate these concerns for VoIP adopters and simplify how communication services providers (CSPs) automate phone number configuration and management. E911 – deployed through telecom APIs – automatically identifies the location of the VoIP phone number by providing a real-time address that can be validated and provisioned. This means that the physical address connected to a VoIP phone is accurate and will be dispatched to the local Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).

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