In case of an emergency, you should always be prepared. E911, or Enhanced 911, is the term used for emergency dialing over VoIP. Dialing for emergency respondents over VoIP works the same way as traditional means, just dial 9-1-1. However, the emergency dispatch process works a little differently than it would if the call was made on a land line. As you could imagine, E911 uses IP phone technology to trace a call.
You probably already know the importance of these emergency services. But what about managing these services? Read on to see how these nine management features will help you to get the most out of your service as a VoIP provider.
1. On/Off-Net DID Provisioning
Registering E911 numbers from your own network is a given, but what if you have DIDs from multiple networks? You should be aware that it’s entirely possible to receive service from a network that differs from your DID’s original network. VoIP providers consider DIDs that aren’t on their own network as “off-net” numbers. Some VoIP providers are happy with providing their features to on-net (on network) numbers as well as off-net numbers, so manage your DIDs amongst providers to find the best pricing.
2. Real-time Updates
If you have access to an online BackOffice platform, you can register, update, and even remove E911 from your DIDs in real-time. Real-time updates are an invaluable management feature as your changes will be made instantly.
3. API (Application Program Interface)
Need to update E911? There’s an app for that. An API is a tool used by developers to create software applications, but can be easily adapted to updating DIDs. While updating DIDs through a BackOffice is simple enough already, having an API adds a bit more functionality for you and your end users to register, update, and remove your service.
Get notified any time an emergency is reported with your DIDs. This feature is incredibly scarce among wholesale VoIP providers, but useful nonetheless. By enabling alerts, you will receive a message when your number is used, and you can act accordingly. We don’t recommend using this as your own Bat-signal to respond to these alerts, but at least you’ll know when you could have an emergency on your hands.
Having all of your data in one place will make your life a lot easier. Say you want to see how many DIDs you have registered for E911. Maybe you want to view your call records or alert statuses. Having online reports will give you access to all of the information you need. Imagine the headache you'll avoid by seeing all of your data right in front of you. We may not have any hoverboards, but this definitely feels like the future.
If you want to keep track of multiple DIDs and their E911 status, the best way to do so is through a BackOffice platform with a “Group” feature. By grouping DIDs, you get a better visual representation the data you need to manage day-to-day operations. “Groups” are another indispensable management feature that will allow you to organize listings, such as customer numbers, local numbers, and off-net numbers, as well as billing and fees.
Not so much a feature, but you should still be aware of potential fees when using E911 services. Three kinds of fees that you might see when adding E911 to your DIDs are Monthly Recurring Charges, Non-recurring Charges, and Rogue Call Charges. When a DID is enabled with E911 you may be charged every month to keep that feature, known as a MRC (Monthly Recurring Charge). An NRC (non-recurring charge) is a one-time fee, like an activation fee. Rogue fees are a little more complicated.
When a DID is used to call 911, but has not been registered as an E911 number, the call will be considered a “rogue call”. A rogue call will not have caller ID or location data, so the call is sent to a specialized call center to track down the call origin and dispatch first respondents. The process in finding the origin of the rogue call will dramatically reduce the reaction time for first respondents.
You will receive a hefty fine every time a rogue call is made from your DIDs, but that’s nothing compared to what could happen if first respondents don’t show up on time. Keeping your DIDs unregistered is incredibly dangerous and economically irresponsible. Do the right thing and register your DIDs.
The last thing you want to experience is your E911 number failing during an emergency. Testing your number is necessary to ensure that your numbers are working properly. Dialing 9-3-3 will allow you to test your emergency feature and you will receive a pre-recorded message to confirm that your number is properly set up.
9. E911 Troubleshooting
If your number is working improperly, you should do some troubleshooting to fix the problems. Test your E911 number by dialing 9-3-3 and you receive all the information you need to properly configure your DID. A common mistake is improper caller ID formatting, which can result in rogue calls. Be sure to troubleshoot your DID if you think you might suffer consequences of a misconfigured DID.
We hope you’ll be able to make use of these features someday. To try them first-hand, check out this free trial offer for our Titanium III, BackOffice.
With Titanium III, you’ll be able to try out all of these E911 management features and more. To see what else you can do with Titanium III, check out these other Top 10 Lists: