The U.S. government just got serious about ensuring citizens are properly served when calling 9-1-1. In parallel, Microsoft has announced capabilities beyond the regulatory requirements to meet the needs of businesses, government offices, and educational institutions.
In the past, the fed has left it to states to define their own 9-1-1 laws for organizations operating phone systems. That resulted in many states with no regulations, and others, like Florida, with stringent requirements.
In August, two laws were signed into Federal legislation that requiring organizations to connect callers in need of emergency service to first responders in their local area. The FCC has adopted a Report and Order requiring all businesses to comply with Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’s Act.
Kari’s Law will require your communication systems to be able to directly dial 9-1-1 without any prefixes, and provide a notification to on-site personnel of all emergency calls made within your network by February 16, 2020.
Ray Baum’s Act will require you to automatically provide a “dispatchable location” to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) alongside all 9-1-1 calls. This is especially complicated in multisite organizations who use a phone system located in a HQ or central office. There are varying compliance deadlines based on phone type (within one year for fixed phones, and two years for non-fixed and remote phones).
Organizations in states where there are more stringent requirements (i.e. Florida) are expected to continue to comply to local laws.
Microsoft Phone System for Teams (and until 7/21, for Skype for Business Online) provides emergency calling location information services. When using a Microsoft calling plan, administrators can program in the physical locations of their buildings, along with their IP subnets, and went an IP phone or Teams client registers to the Phone System service, its location will be identified by its subnet. Then, when that device calls 911, the physical address location information that was pre-programmed is included in the call so that it’s automatically routed to the correct public safety access point along with the call. This is similar to the functionality provided by the Location Information Service in SfB Server.
There will also be support for alerting on-premises staff (i.e. security desk, campus police). The alert will notify the delegate with chat only, conference them in and mute them, or conference them in and mute them, but allow them to unmute. An external PSTN number of a user or group to bridge into the emergency call can also be programmed.
Support for Teams Direct Routing will be coming very soon, supported by three service providers, RedSky, West, etc. They’ll provide trunks into local SBCs which are specifically provisioned to carry 911 calls (in parallel from day to day in/outbound calls) and add value add services such as mobile PC and mobile apps which force a user to put in their correct IP address if at home or another location whose IP address isn’t associated with the brick and mortar subnets of the of the organization.
User logs in from their desk in the morning and acquires IP address 10.1.1.1. Previously, the Phone System admin had programmed Subnet 10.1.1.x/24 as affiliated with 123 Front Street (via PowerShell).
That night, they fly to another company location for a meeting at 456 Back Street. Their PC acquires IP address 192.168.1.1, which previously had been entered into Phone System as 456 Back Street. They call 9-1-1 from the meeting, and an ambulance is dispatched to 456 Back, rather than to 123 Front Street.
If no location can be identified, such as when the call is made from a Teams client at a home office or coffee shop, MSFT Phone System routes the call to a trained emergency services answering point, who determines the caller’s location and manually routes the call to the correct Public Safety Answering Point in their local area (see below for those steps).
Figure 1:Call flows when a 9-1-1 call is made from a device without location information.
More information from 3rd party value add services:
Microsoft Emergency Services Information
To see our recent Teams Updates Webinar including Voice Enhancements: