In 2018 the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) re-appointed BT Ireland as the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for 112/999 emergency call answering services. The BT service directs 112/999 calls to the appropriate emergency service – An Garda Siochána, Fire Service, Ambulance Service or Coast Guard.
With 2.37 million calls a year and around 6,000 a day, service levels are not just measured by resilience but on how quickly calls are answered, and the ability to pinpoint the precise location of callers.
“Location is the Holy Grail in emergency services; it takes the search out of search and rescue. If you can’t find someone who calls, you can’t help them.”
Mick Kelly, BT Head of Operations at ECAS
When service availability and responsiveness can be the difference between life and death it was key that the SMS platform and throughput could match BT’s exacting requirements for 24/7, 365-days a year availability and almost zero downtime.
Púca’s messaging technology and round the clock monitoring was implemented as part of the resilient BT ECAS multi-channel service architecture. Púca’s Message Manager platform connects to each of the MNOs (mobile network operators) in Ireland to give access to customers of all mobile networks.
Púca also implemented the use of Advanced Mobile Location (AML) capabilities to extract precise caller location and transmit this by SMS to the BT ECAS application.
How does AML work?
As operators take a call, the system is automatically matching Eircodes, base stations, STD codes and phone numbers in the background. Callers simply call emergency numbers 999 or 112 as normal, the phone activates GPS and sends a text message in the background with the location information. This location information is more exact than that received from standard mobile calls and there is no charge to the caller for the text. Unlike other location services, no app installation is needed for the service to work.
The BT service was already answering all emergency calls in less than 1.3 seconds, a time they have now cut to an average of 0.7 seconds with the new service, a fractional gain that could be significant when it comes to saving lives.
The new capability to provide location information is proving uniquely valuable for rapid emergency response. Even if the caller is hard of hearing or in a dangerous situation their location will be pinpointed accurately so that the emergency services can be deployed.
“It’s a pretty novel use of SMS – invisible to everyone – but it generates a huge amount of traffic daily now and it’s very important to Gardaí and Ambulance services” Mick Kelly, BT Head of Operations at ECAS
Mick Kelly also comments on how Púca has exceeded on all aspects of delivering and supporting the SMS channel;
“Púca has been involved from the very beginning of the 112 SMS service, and their messaging technology and support has been an essential component of the success of this project.”
Eileen Carroll, Púca MD has this to say about Púca’s role in the project;
“We are very proud to be playing our role in supporting the BT ECAS service, particularly the Advanced Mobile Location feature which was a first for us. It was certainly a challenging project but our team delivered and the BT team were fantastic to work with – I am always impressed by their professionalism and innovation.”
“Púca’s messaging technology and support has been an essential component of the success of the ECAS project”