Púca's SMS platform was chosen to support BT in directing calls to the the 112/999 emergency call answering services. Here's how it was done.
In 2018, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) selected BT Ireland to continue serving as the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for the 112/999 emergency call answering services. BT is responsible for directing calls to the appropriate emergency service, such as the police, fire department, ambulance service, or coast guard.
This service handles a large volume of calls, with an average of 6,000 calls per day and over 2.37 million calls per year. As a result, the service is not only expected to be resilient, but also to answer calls quickly and accurately determine the location of callers.
Púca’s SMS platform was chosen to support the 112/999 emergency call answering services because of its ability to meet the high availability and responsiveness standards required for this critical service. With lives potentially at stake, it was important that the platform be able to provide 24/7, 365-day availability and minimal downtime. Púca’s platform was able to meet these requirements and support BT Ireland’s efforts to provide reliable and efficient emergency call answering services.
“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
As part of the BT Ireland’s Emergency Call Answering Service (ECAS), Púca’s messaging technology and 24/7 monitoring were integrated into the service’s multi-channel architecture to ensure high availability and responsiveness. Púca’s Message Manager platform connects to all mobile network operators in Ireland to allow access to customers on any network, and utilizes Advanced Mobile Location (AML) capabilities to extract precise caller locations and transmit them via SMS to the BT ECAS application. This ensures that emergency services can quickly and accurately determine the location of callers in need of assistance.
“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.”Eileen Carroll, Púca MD
Advanced Mobile Location (AML) is a system that automatically determines the precise location of a caller using their mobile phone when they dial emergency numbers such as 999 or 112. When a call is made, the phone’s GPS is activated and sends a text message in the background with the location information to the emergency call center. This location information is more accurate than the location data obtained from standard mobile calls, and there is no charge to the caller for the text message.
One of the key benefits of AML is that it does not require any special app to be installed on the caller’s phone in order to work. Instead, it uses the phone’s built-in GPS and text messaging capabilities to transmit the location information.
The BT Ireland emergency call answering service has significantly improved its response time with the implementation of Púca’s messaging technology and the use of Advanced Mobile Location (AML) capabilities. Prior to these improvements, the service was already answering all emergency calls within 1.3 seconds, but with the new system, the average response time has been reduced to 0.7 seconds. This fractional gain may seem small, but it can be crucial in life-threatening situations.
In addition, the ability to accurately determine the location of the caller using AML is proving to be a valuable asset for rapid emergency response. Even if the caller is unable to speak or is in a hazardous location, their location can be pinpointed so that emergency services can be dispatched promptly.
“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