Irwin Lazar, VP & Service Director, Nemertes Research
Tricia McConnell, Product Marketing Manager – 911, Bandwidth
Thomas Ginter, Sales Support Engineer III, Bandwidth
Eric Krapf, GM & Program Co-Chair, Enterprise Connect Publisher, No Jitter
Eric: Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening depending on where you are in the world and welcome to today’s Enterprise Connect webinar, “E911 and Microsoft Teams: Success Planning with the Pros” sponsored by Bandwidth and broadcast by Informa. I’m Eric Krapf with Enterprise Connect, and I’ll be your moderator today. We have just a few announcements before we begin. This webinar is designed to be interactive. The dock of widgets at the bottom of your screen will allow you to learn about today’s speakers, download resources, share this webinar via social media outlets, and participate in the Q&A session that takes place at the end of our presentation.
Slides will advance automatically throughout the event. You may also download a copy of your slides via the resources widget. At the end of our webinar, we’ll ask you to complete our survey found on the right-hand side of your screen. Please take a minute to fill this out before leaving us today as your feedback will provide us with valuable information on how we can improve future events. Lastly, if you’re experiencing any technical problems, please click the help widget found at the bottom of your screen. You can also type your issue into the Q&A area, and we’ll be glad to offer one-on-one assistance. Now on to the presentation, “E911 and Microsoft Teams: Success Planning with the Pros.” Guesting today’s topic will be Irwin Lazar, VP and service director at Nemertes Research, Tricia McConnell, product marketing manager for 911 at Bandwith, and Thomas Ginter, sales support engineer at Bandwidth also. And with that, I’ll turn it over to Irwin to get us started.
Irwin: Great. Thank you, Eric. And as Eric said, welcome to today’s webinar. I’m Irwin Lazar, vice-president and service director at Nemertes Research. And I’d like to share with you this morning or this afternoon again some information about a research study that we recently conducted looking at the Enterprise 911 market. I’ll ask Thomas and Tricia to go ahead and introduce themselves real quick.
Tricia: I’m Tricia McConnell, product marketing manager for 911.
Thomas: And I’m Thomas Ginter, sales support engineering here at Bandwidth and 911 subject matter expert, people tell me.
Irwin: Excellent. We will certainly test that in a minute. So we certainly look forward to hearing from you. So the agenda, I’ll talk a little bit about some of our recent research around Enterprise 911 and specifically around Microsoft Teams, and then we’ll spend some time talking about some of the emerging regulatory laws on the federal level that are coming into play over the next…starting this month as well as over the next couple of years and what the impact is there for those organizations that are responsible for operating phone systems and ensuring accurate location information and call routing information. And we’ll talk about some of the considerations as organizations are moving from on-prem to the cloud as they’re taking advantage of Microsoft Teams and adopting Microsoft Teams as their phone system and some of the things that Microsoft offers and some of the concerns and capabilities that you need to be aware of as you’re doing your implementation.
Nemertes’ enterprise 911 research
So with that, let me go ahead and share with you some results hot off the presses of a study that we recently conducted. And from the Nemertes’ perspective, we go out and we gather data from end-user organizations. We are going out and conducting these studies throughout the course of the year where we’re trying to understand what are companies doing, why are they doing it, and what are successful companies doing a little bit differently from those that are less successful. And so we conducted a study of enterprise organizations to look specifically at both E911 as well as Microsoft Teams. And we went out to companies based in North America with over 1,000 employees. We ended up touching about 300 organizations, and these are folks who share their information with us under guarantee of anonymity. And so it allows us to get some insight and get some free flow of ideas and information from them. We represented more than 20 industries. The average employee count was about 21,000. The average revenue is about 18.2 billion. So it tended to be a slice of the mid to large-size market, which is what we have historically seen as the early adopters and the present adopters right now for Microsoft Teams phone system.
So we looked at a couple of things. We wanted to understand, how are organization’s addressing, really, the key concerns…or the key requirements, I should say, as you’re thinking about E911? And they really boil down to two things. First is you have to know where people are so that when somebody dials 911, that location information about where that call is coming from is transmitted to the public safety answering point or the PSAP, reason being you never know if that person can continue the call, can stay on the line, has a health or medical issue, or some local emergency that causes them have to drop. That operator really needs to know where that person is so that they can accurately dispatch first responders to that scene.
And then you also have to make sure that call goes to the right operator. This was not really an issue. And you went to the office in the morning, and you were at your desk all day, and then you went home at night. But it’s become a huge issue when people are connecting through cell phones, through clients on their mobile devices, working from home remotely and VPNing in, potentially even using a desktop phone. So, we’ve seen the market has changed to where workers are now much more dynamic. They can be working from a number of different locations. They can be moving around in an office or campus throughout the day. They can be working from home a couple of days a week, working in client sites, working in multi-vendor environments as you’re transitioning to Microsoft Teams, maybe today you have another vendor as an existing phone system provider.
And so all of these taken together is really making it much more difficult for organizations to both accurately track location and know…once you know that location, make sure that call gets sent to the right public safety operator. And unfortunately, they’ve been a number of real-world examples where, you know, someone is working at home for the day and they called 9-1-1, or they’re having a medical emergency and someone in the house picks up their desktop phone and calls 9-1-1, and that first responder is routed to their office because the location information wasn’t accurately updating in real-time.
So, in the study, we found that roughly about 28% of organizations are using third-party 9-1-1 management tools. There are a number of tools that are out there, a number of vendors that provide the capabilities to ensure that not only do you have real-time location awareness and tracking but that you can do it in a multi-vendor environment across both desktop, mobile, and cell phones. Most people today, most companies that were participating in the study rely on whatever capabilities are available to them from their phone system vendor, which, again, in a large organization where you might have more than one vendor or where you might have a legacy say on-prem deployment as you move into Microsoft Teams, you could end up with a situation where you’re managing multiple 9-1-1 management domains, and that creates the additional overhead, potential problem for conflict having to make sure that you’re transitioning people properly between those systems.
We found that the smaller end of the market that we studied was more likely to use only the capabilities provided to them by their phone system vendor, where the larger end of the market, midsize and larger, shown in the yellow and green bars, were more likely to take advantage of the capabilities that were provided through a third-party platform. When we asked organizations that were using third-party tools for E911 management, “What drove you to use them?” It was really the two things that you would expect. One is regulatory requirements. We’ll talk a little bit more about some of those that are emerging like Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’S Act and risk avoidance. So risk avoidance comes in a couple of different flavors. Obviously, the risk of not supporting the regulations but more importantly, risk of harm to employees. You know, you don’t wanna operate a potentially unsafe work environment where you can’t guarantee that if an employee picks up the phone and dials 911, that the first responder can locate them and provide care to them as fast as possible. Not only is that, you know, obviously, a primary risk to the employees, it could be a matter of life and death, but it’s also reputational risk to the organization. You know, you don’t wanna have those kind of events happen within your company.
The third area was around operational costs. This often plays into that multi-vendor environment. When I’m running a legacy platform, moving to a cloud platform, maybe more than one legacy platform, I can standardize on E911 across a single service then I can manage all of those together. I left these in here, some of the things that showed up at the 0%. So misdial prevention is something that we’ll mention a second, a lot of people use, but it’s not a primary driver for why you would buy a 911 management solution or security desk notifications, which we’ll talk more about that in a minute. Again, a lot of people deploy these now, but not a primary requirement. So, as you’re thinking about what might drive you to go and investigate 911 solutions and purchase them, I think you’ll agree that regulatory requirements is probably gonna be your biggest driver. You have to support the law especially now that it’s a federal law, and then, you know, again, you wanna avoid risks to your organization. We asked the folks who were deploying these tools what features they were using. And as I mentioned earlier, that ability to support multi-vendor environments was a key feature that people do roll out that if I’ve got, you know, Cisco, Avaya, Microsoft transitioning, say again, to Microsoft Teams, that I can use a single solution to help me manage that entire environment.
Other features that we saw often deployed, 911 call recording, they can capture that 911 call for further analysis down the road, tracking cell phone locations as people are moving around a facility, so being able to correlate based on wireless access point or some other capability to know roughly where a person is in a building, not just that they’re in the building, but know what floor, wing, maybe even office that they might be sitting into, 911 call notifications, being able again notify security desks. Again, in a modern office, if the first responders show up, they’re likely to show up at the front door, and without a passcode, they’re not getting past that front door. The security people at that door need to know that a call was made and where that call came from. And then misdial prevention as I mentioned earlier, you know, there are still a lot of companies where you have to dial nine to get an outside line. Dial nine, dial one to dial long-distance call. Now you’re 2/3 of the way to accidentally making a 911 call. So many of the solutions will allow you to intercept that and say, you know, “Hey, sure you wanna dial 911? Press one to continue,” or something like that.
We looked at the second part of the equation, which is, how do you get calls out to the proper PSAP? And we found that, today, most folks, 41%, are using the local PSTN connections at their offices, which is an expensive way to do it. It means you have to maintain a local link at each office, and it goes against the trend we’ve seen towards centralizing PSTN access and leveraging SIP trunking. So the other alternatives are to either use that SIP trunking provider or to use an E911 call provider that can also potentially maintain dynamic database management and know where those calls go. So SIP trunking providers, a lot of the legacy ones would only be able to support front door location reporting, so meaning they can report the street address of the building, but not anything more detailed than that, where some of the emerging SIP trunking providers and some of the overlay 911 services can allow you to essentially have much more detailed information that can be shared with operators.
Again, similar size and location, the larger companies, in this case, tend to be using more local numbers. A lot of times we see that in retail environments where organizations have lots of branch offices, and so they say, you know, “I’ll just have a local PSTN link at that site. I’ll have a local gateway, and I’ll intercept the 911 call and send it out over that local PSTN link.” Again, guarantees that call is probably gonna go to the right operator, but it’s a very expensive way to implement 911. And it goes against that trend toward using SIP trunking to centralize PSTN access and reduce costs.
Looking at Microsoft Teams among the 300 or so organizations that we studied, we saw a lot of interest in Microsoft Teams, 76% that are either using it or planning to use it by the end of 2021. And when I say adoption, in that case, the chart on the left that’s using it for any purpose. So, typically, you’re looking at the initial rollout is using Teams as a messaging application, taking advantage of the meeting capabilities and beyond that then looking at using it as a phone system. So if you kind of slice out that 76%, we then ask them, “Well, what are your plans for using Teams’ phone system?” And we found that of those that were in that 76% group, more than half, 56%, were planning on using Teams as their phone system, 24% use it now and the rest, they are planning on doing so either by the end of 2020 or the end of 2021, and another 21% are evaluating. So it kind of tells you that, you know, Teams is really gaining a strong foothold in the enterprise calling space. And now we kind of put these two together and we say, “Okay. If we’re gonna implement Teams, we have to make sure that it’s 911-compliant and we can install those 911 problems that we talked about previously.” So, the big issue that companies look at as they’re moving into Teams is, “How am I gonna connect to the PSTN?” And there are two ways that you can do that with Teams.
One is you can go to Microsoft and you can buy something called Microsoft Calling Plan, which is essentially a package of minutes at a fixed price, typically $12 a month for 3,000 minutes per person. And they give you a block of minutes. They give you a phone number. They handle all the 911 calling and routing for you. And the problem there that we have found is it’s typically an expensive solution. In a lot of cases, you’re paying for minutes that you’re not actually using. If you’re a large company, you’re probably already investing in SIP trunking or looking at SIP trunking in which case you might be able to save significant amount of money by leveraging Microsoft direct routing, which is the other option where you bring a SIP trunking provider to Microsoft. You then can implement your own, say, per-use calling plan or least-cost routing capabilities to reduce that PSTN access cost, protect your existing phone numbers, so you own those numbers gives you the flexibility to, you know, maybe using Teams for calling, but you might be using someone else for contact center, or you’re not 100% ready to buy into Teams and you wanna maintain your own phone numbers until you’re certain that that’s the direction that you wanna go to. So we see a lot of interest in the direct routing approach as an alternative to Microsoft Calling Plan. So, looking at 911 options for Microsoft Teams, as I mentioned, if you stick with your existing SIP trunking provider, more likely you’ll find that they today are only offering street address mapping at a minimum. That’s the bare minimum that they’ll give you, and they might not be offering additional features like notifications and location management, misdial prevention, all the things we talked about earlier.
The other option is you keep that SIP trunking provider in place, and you go and buy a third-party 911 location management provider. In that case, you’re overlaying that on top of your service. You’re intercepting 911 calls and routing them to that provider, deploying their capabilities to manage location. In that case, you may be taking advantage of Microsoft’s own features to do dynamic location mapping, but you’re also adding in an additional layer of complexity and additional cost. Third option is to find a provider that does both. So somebody that can deliver SIP trunking capabilities as well as 911-location management, 911 call routing, and some of those advanced features that we talked about. And then as we looked at what companies are doing from the Teams’ perspective related to SIP trunking, we found about 55% are currently planning to use their existing SIP trunking services and about 43% that are using this as an inflection point. You know, as I go to Teams, should I look at a Teams-optimized maybe lower cost more fully-featured API-enabled SIP trunking provider that might offer some additional functionality. So, almost half, about 43%, that are looking at alternative SIP trunking providers.
And we’ll talk a little bit more of…I won’t steal too much of Thomas’ thunder, but we’ll talk a little bit about some of the emerging 911 requirements. And the big ones that are really coming into play and ones I’ll talk about in my panel coming up in a couple of weeks at Enterprise Connect are Kari’s Law, which requires that any phone system sold after February 21st, I believe it is, has to…February 16th, excuse me, has to support the ability to automatically dial 911 without dialing a prefix. Calls to 911 must terminate at the PSAP, you can’t intercept those calls and route them say to your security desk, and they must notify the security desk that that call was made. So that’s coming into play again for new implementation starting later this month. And then as well as RAY BAUM’S Act Section 506, which requires that…it essentially federalizes what is already law in a lot of states, which means you have to deploy dispatcher…you have to send dispatchable location information. It can’t just be the front door, but it has to be down to as granular as you can get it where that person is. It requires you to implement the capability to know where those people are locating. And so January 6, 2021, is the implementation date…compliance date, I should say, for fixed services, a year after that for wireless service providers.
So we did ask specifically what are people thinking. Are they aware of Kari’s Law? Are they aware of RAY BAUM’S Act? There’s been a lot of press coverage of Kari’s Law over the last year, less so, I think, of RAY BAUM’s. We found that 61% told us they were compliant now. Another 19% were planning on being compliant by the end of this month. And again, being compliant means that they can support 911…the rule of the law is you have to be…it applies to 911 deployments, or new phone system deployments have to be able to direct-dial 911. But what we’re finding is a lot of organizations that want to go back and ensure that even their existing deployments are Kari’s Law compliant even though that’s not specifically mandated in the law.
Again, it goes back to that risk reduction aspect that we talked about earlier where you still…it’s a good thing to be able to pick up a phone and dial 911 without having a dial-up prefix. And then RAY BAUM’S Act, 56% that are compliant now. In most cases, those are folks that are operating in states that have similar requirements on the books today, about 21% that were planning on being compliant by the end of this month and about 7% that aren’t compliant or have no plans to be compliant at all with either. We found only about…a little over half that were even familiar with both of these laws. So, there’s still a lot of market education that has to happen in terms of what are the specific requirements of the law, how do you become compliant, what does that mean, and so on. And we’ll talk a little bit more about that. So I think that’s a good segue over to Tricia and Thomas, and I will pass the baton.
Tricia: Thanks, Irwin. So I’m gonna actually go back to that slide for just a second because it’s telling to me, and it actually is a little bit of a “liar, liar, pants on fire” moment. Thomas and I speak to customers, Thomas more than I do, every single day and we still encounter a ton of confusion in the market. There’s certainly interest about what’s going on in the regulatory landscape. It’s difficult for me to imagine that 80% of organizations are compliant with Kari’s Law today. Do you believe that, Thomas?
Thomas: I don’t believe it.
Kari’s Law & RAY BAUM’S Act
Tricia: Okay. So it’s not just me, but let’s just say that we are speaking to the 20% of you on the phone that are not yet compliant with Kari’s Law. I’m gonna dig into that. And then for the rest of you, you know, now would be a good time to grab a drink of water. So quick commercial break. Who is Bandwidth? Just in case you’re on the phone and you have never heard of us before and thought, “Oh, they sound like a nice startup that decided, ‘Oh, let’s build out nationwide 911 network, wouldn’t that be fun?'” Bandwidth has actually been around for 20 plus years, and we fill a unique space in the market. We have both a tier-one network, and we are software providers. So, we have that nationwide reach that allows our customers to expand their organization anywhere yet build really flexible robust applications on top of that. And if I wasn’t clear, we provide cloud-ready voice messaging and 911. You may already know us because we are the carrier underneath Microsoft Calling Plan today, we are a direct routing partner, and then as I said, we’ve got this nationwide 911 network, which we’re gonna talk a little bit about when we get to Thomas’s section.
So this regulatory landscape and it actually is complicating the state of 911. 911 is certainly having a moment, and the regulatory activity is a big driver of this. So what’s going on? So up until now, about half the states in the country have some sort of 911 legislation on the books, and this varies widely depending on what state the user is in. And some states have absolutely no 911 regulations at all. So, the FCC recently stepped in mirroring kind of what they’ve been doing on the wireless 911 side for the past few years and said, “Okay. Let’s try and get some clear comprehensive rules in place that apply to all enterprises within the U.S.” So as Irwin talked about, I’ll dig into these a little bit more without wasting too much of your time or being repetitive.
So Kari’s Law. So Kari’s Law came out of a very unfortunate incident in a hotel room a number of years ago where a woman passed away because her young daughter, very brave, knew to call 911, but did not know that she needed to dial a nine first to get an outside line. So Kari’s Law the first thing that it does is it eliminates that prefix when calling 911. The other thing that it does is it says somebody with the enterprise has to know that a 911 call has been placed, and this could be a security desk, front desk attendant, somebody in the facilities. You know, these people have often badge access to locked suites. They are able to guide first responders as they arrive on scene. They’re fluent in the layout of the building. They’re really almost like first responders, and they can sometimes even provide, you know, life-saving support like CPR, potentially, to a caller. So the other regulation that’s in play…let me back up. So Kari’s Law is…we are only days away from the implementation date of Kari’s law is on Sunday the 16th…I think that’s a Sunday, which is also the 52nd, if I’m correct, anniversary of the first 911 call. Thomas so you and I are both older than the first 911 call ever.
Thomas: I was not responsible for that call, I was only three.
Tricia: Yeah. While we, you know, still had our pacifiers in our mouth, they were inventing 911. So any day now. And as Irwin said once…this actually doesn’t kick in terms of…it’s not a milestone to reach. And this is a point of confusion that I encounter a lot when speaking with enterprises. It’s an implementation date. So any changes to the telephony infrastructure after this date, the enterprise will be subject to compliance, and that would include moving to Microsoft Teams, moving to the cloud. So RAY BAUM’S Act. So we were talking earlier about this before the webinar about, you know, RAY BAUM’S Act might be one of the more impactful pieces of legislation even though it has been around at some state levels for a while. But RAY BAUM’S Act introduces, for the first time, the concept of dispatchable location. And dispatchable location is more than just the front door to the building that we’re in now, which is, you know, 1010 Main Campus Drive in Raleigh, North Carolina. We’re actually on the third floor in Wolfe Conference Room. That is the dispatchable location. So there’s address line 1 and address line 2. That’s the door that first responders need to go through in order to find me or find Thomas if we were to get ourselves into trouble. So, RAY BAUM’S Act kicks into effect on January 6, 2021, for fixed voice endpoints and in 2022 for nomadic. And that would be your cell phones and including your Microsoft Teams clients. Did I forget anything there, Thomas?
Thomas: No. You’ve got it.
Tricia: So in the midst of all this regulatory change and scrutiny, you know, as Irwin mentioned, I’m an example of somebody who is nomadic throughout my day in terms of moving around an enterprise. Bandwidth occupies three buildings on the North Carolina State campus. I am moving up and down floors. I am going up to Thomas’s cube to bother him. I am moving between buildings, and I am rarely found at my assigned workstation that I was given on my first day at Bandwidth. And so all of this, like, movement within the enterprise, the question is not, “What is the dispatchable location for Tricia’s assigned workstation on the second floor?” She’s never there, and she doesn’t actually have a desk phone anyway. It’s, “Where is her location at the time that she makes a 911 call?” which could be at her workstation, or it could be across the street in a different building. And that’s the problem that we now need to solve for that a lot of enterprises are encountering. And then finally, as we, you know, move from on-prem to the cloud, we ripped out those dedicated circuits. Great. We realized, you know, those cost saving’s. Fantastic. But that can dramatically change how 911 behaves and performs and it creates real complications, especially in light of all this regulatory change. And then the other thing that I wanna say, and I forgot to say this later, Irwin, the data that you have presented, I’ve never actually seen any 911, not really robust 911 research that’s ever been done in an enterprise-level before. Have you, Thomas?
Thomas: No, this good stuff.
Tricia: Yes. It’s really great. So I wanted to thank you for doing that.
Irwin: Thank you.
Tricia: Okay. So with that, I’m gonna turn it over to Thomas who’s gonna explain like, “Okay. Well, how does the technology work in light of all these changes and where the user is moving around more frequently?”
911 technology (pre-2000s)
Thomas: Okay. Thank you, Trish. I’m gonna take us on a little bit of a history tour of how 911 worked in the past, how it’s working today, and now what we’re doing with Microsoft Teams. We’ll flip on forward, and at the end of this explanation, you’re gonna understand how your standard Cisco systems, Avaya systems, ShoreTel, Mitel, how they’re working today, how Skype for Business made a fundamental change a change in how 911 is processing and how Teams has taken that to a completely new level. We’re gonna take you through that story. So we begin with a very simple diagram, and we’re going to explain building level location, which was the essence of that term enhanced 911 or E911 that you see so often.
So here we have an enterprise that’s a building. It’s five stories. This is back in the 1990s. There’s 100 extensions on each floor of the phone…of the building rather, but there’s only one phone number. The buildings…you know, back in the 1990s, telephone numbers were expensive, and you had lots of extensions but very few DIDs or Direct Inward Dialing numbers. In this case, the number is gonna be 919-555-1000 here in the Raleigh area. I’ll draw your attention to not just the public switched telephone network or PSTN, this is a simplification, but also in the bottom right-hand corner of the diagram there’s an ALI database. That’s your automatic location identification database. That is your 911 reverse white pages. It contains the data of a telephone number, the person’s name or business name associated with that telephone number, and the address where they’re located. So we have to put these 911 records into that ALI database.
I’ll draw your attention also to the PSAP, P-S-A-P. That’s your public safety answering point. That’s your 911 call center. And just above that, this is the purpose of our study here. We are going to display the person or the enterprise name, their address, and the telephone number on a screen…a screenshot for the 911 call taker. So the call proceeds as follows. A telephone on the far left-hand of the diagram, you know, an extension, a non-DID phone, doesn’t have its own telephone number, makes a 911 call. The PBX, the Private Branch Exchange, old-school 1990s technology, says, “Okay. I’ve got a 911 call. Send that out on the PRI trunk,” which is the old legacy way of sending out calls. And the telephone number identity that’s being outpost is only the main number for the building, 919-555-1000, that passes through the PSTN, goes to the 911 call center, the PSAP, and they did that ALI database for, what’s the address? In this case, it’s 123 Main Street. The floor-level information or office-level information is not presented on the screen because it isn’t understood by the ALI database or the PBX that there is a floor level piece of information to be had. And this is how the systems worked back in the 1990s.
911 technology (2000s-today)
We take you now forward to floor-level technologies that really came into vogue in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Let’s explain our piece parts here. You’ll see that we’ve augmented the information around the building. We’ve got telephone numbers or extensions rather on the right-hand side of the building, you know, the extensions, you know, 100 through 199 on the first floor, 200 through 299 on the second floor, and so forth. And now we’re gonna introduce, on the left-hand side of the building, a proxy number for the purposes of 911 so that we can get floor level information presented to public safety. So this proxy number is known in the industry as an ELIN, E-L-I-N or Emergency Location Identification Number. You will find that terminology in Cisco documentation, in Avaya documentation, and in Skype for Business documentation. So that ELIN is a key 911 term to watch for. You’ll notice that we’ve got one per floor, you know, 919-555-1001 for the first floor, 1002 for the second floor, and so on.
And what we do now…and again, the purpose of our study is to get this information to public safety to display on the screen. So, we can take those proxy numbers, those ELINs, populate them over in a table that’s shown on the bottom right-hand corner. So those ELINs, those 1001, 1002, 1003 numbers are inside of that database and associated with them is the enterprise building name, Enterprise in this case, and 123 Main Street, you know, 123 Main Street floor one for the 1001 number and floor two for the 1002 number. So now we have an ability to identify an extensions floor if we make a call. Okay. And so it proceeds as follows. An extension on the third floor is making a call. I think we have extension 307. And it’s going to make a call, and so the PBX in the basement goes, “Oh, I’ve got an extension on the third floor that’s making 911 call. What’s my proxy number that’s for the third floor? Oh, 919-555-1003. Let’s use that number to out pulse to the public switch telephone network.” The PSTN phone network passes it to the 911 call center, that PSAP. It dips that ALI database, and lo and behold, we see the information here for 1003 circled. And we can present on the screen that Enterprise name, the address of 123 Main Street plus floor three information and that callback number.
The callback number remains as 919-555-1003, and if the call should drop and Public Safety call that number back, that number will go back to the PBX because it’s one of the PBX’s numbers. It’s a number on that system, and the PBX will go, “Oh, this is one of my special 911 proxy numbers. Who was the last extension to actually use me? Oh, the 1003 call was most recently placed by extension 307. Ring that extension back as the 911 call back.” And this is really the state of the art circa for your, you know, 2000 to 2010. If we replace the bottom PBX with Skype for Business on-prem technology, for example, you will find it in that documentation, this exact ELIN technique using a gateway proxy on-premises is in the documentation. It’s actually the front half of the documentation. The second half of the documentation uses this much more modern technique that takes a page out of the North American Emergency Number Association Next Generation 911 set of specifications. And instead of talking about that really cool innovation in the context of Skype for business on-prem, we’ll take you one step further into dynamic 911 for Microsoft Teams.
And so this takes us to the final and more colorful diagram on the final slide here. So Microsoft Teams, and taking a page out of next-generation 911, is doing one very unique thing. You’ll see that in the diagram we have something called a LIS, L-I-S, just above the Microsoft Teams cloud. That stands for Location Information System. Okay. This is a specification that was first published in 2005, republished in 2010, and republished as the next generation 911 stuff in 2013. And it is a location analysis engine that will turn a location datum, any kind of a location datum, we’ll describe that in a moment, into a specific civic address plus floor, suite, or room level information based on the specificity of that input location datum.
What am I talking about? Well, up in the far right-hand corner, upper corner, you can see that we’ve got all kinds of different phones. We got landline phones. We got laptops. We got some mobile phones. We’ve got, you know, laptops, all kinds of stuff. And they can all have a presence on the Microsoft Teams environment. It’s a collaboration communications tool, and there’s lots of devices that can be attached to it. And those different devices have a location context that might be a server port on an IP router. It could be a Wi-Fi access point or a hot spot with an identifier media access controller. It could be a cell phone with GPS coordinates. It could be any of a variety of ways that the physical infrastructure of the building is figuring out where these devices are.
And so this list in the Microsoft Teams environment can be populated with wire maps, server port designations, Wi-Fi hotspot locations. And when a 911 call is placed from one of those devices in the upper right-hand corner, it’s now going to inspect this list, this location information server for the location context of the location datum and the identity of the device that’s making the call. And so we see here, on the left-hand side, we’ve got a set of addresses or what in the technology is called location objects. These are address line 1, address line 2 RAY BAUM’S Act compliant dispatchable locations. So a series of location objects that contain that location information, one for every floor of the building, one for every suite within that building, one potentially for every conference room that has its own Wi-Fi access point that can be uniquely identified within the building. You’ll have location objects for all of them.
And then on the other side of that line, you see the telephone numbers and the people’s names or the enterprise names. And this is the information that answers the question who is calling and the information in the location objects answers the question where are they calling from. And so this call from one of those devices passes through the system and comes into the Microsoft Teams environment, dips that list database, and sends the call to Bandwidth. Now, what happens on the call towards Bandwidth is a normal…this is gonna be a little technical jargon now. A normal voice over IP call is sent with a session initiation protocol invite. It’s literally an invitation, and it contains a two field of 911, a from field of the telephone number of the device, you know, 919-555-, you know, 3032, whatever that device was, and is now also going to contain a location object header that contains the result of the list dipped. The list took that location datum, a Wi-Fi hotspot that’s in the conference room, and it’s turning it into the value 1010 Main Campus Drive Raleigh, North Carolina, 27606, third-floor, Wolfe Conference room. That’s where we’re sitting. And that entire literal string comes to Bandwidth from Microsoft Teams at call time in the call invocation itself.
And we take that information, analyze it in real-time, and go, “Okay where is 1010 Main Campus Drive Raleigh, North Carolina?” “Oh, that means that this call needs to go to the Downtown Raleigh Police Department.” We’ve got a route for that. We’ve got this wonderful 911 network, and we built it out. We now need to get that address information including floor three and Wolfe Conference Room to the public safety answering point through their local ALI database in real-time, which we do. And so now by virtue of this list within the Microsoft Teams environment, any device that’s attached to Microsoft Teams that has location datum, that’s stored now by the IT department managing that list, can make a 911 call from any location, including, for example, your work from home location. You have a Wi-Fi hotspot at home. That Wi-Fi hotspot can be included in the list data so that you can take your laptop from home and go to work, and if you make an instant 911 call, the location of Wolfe Conference Room or in my case 1211…you know, Twin Branches Drive is just down the road from here. That location is gonna be presented appropriately to public safety. So this is really slick.
If you’ve been a 911 engineer like I have for the last 20 years, real-time location passing in a call invocation and it’s real-time analysis to figure out where that call needs to go, and presentation of all the way down to room level information to Public Safety all in real-time is unprecedented. We do not require a copy of the list data in our system a priori, in other words beforehand. We just need the connection, we need the logic, and the processing capabilities to process that information in real-time, which we built. And all of the provisioning now is on the Microsoft Teams side, and Microsoft does a wonderful job of making those types of provisioning easy for your IT professionals. That’s the big wow here, everything real-time, live. There you have it, Trish.
Tricia: Yeah. I will say that Microsoft has done a really good job in sort of taking that next step in the evolution of 911. They’re being a good steward of 911, at least those of us in the industry think so. So I think we can…Eric, if you’re ready, we can open it up to some questions.
Eric: Yes. And we’ve got a ton of questions. There are really a lot of great questions here. I first wanna remind everybody to take the survey that we’ve got there on your screen to help us with making the webinars better. And then with that, we’re gonna jump right into the questions and see how many of these we can get through in these 20 minutes. We’ve got a good amount of time for questions. So hopefully, we’ll get a lot of them. First question…right back, I think Thomas is the right person to start with on this…to the question of the lookup on the Microsoft Teams configuration. A person asks, is it [Microsoft Teams]doing the lookup at the time of the call or is it doing it previous to the call, and how often is that database updated?
Thomas: So it’s at the time of the call. So this is a real-time process. You can imagine that the IT department, if we renovated here on the third floor, they would have to change some Wi-Fi access points and some server port designations in that list. But once it’s been set up, you don’t have to touch the data, and it is simply used at call time to determine, “Oh, you are on the third floor. Oh, you are in the Wolfe Conference room,” so real-time call time.
Eric: Is there some component of sort of maintenance that…you know, you kind of think about legal liabilities arising if you don’t keep this database maintained correctly or if somehow you don’t implement the database properly. Is that a concern or is that something you have to get some kind of check on?
Thomas: So I’ve long stated that human error is probably the most common reason for a 911 call misroute or call failure. And so the requirement of humans to maintain their data is absolutely paramount. But let me point something out. In the legacy techniques that I was talking about with those proxy numbers in ELINs, you had data that had to be populated in the PBX or in the soft switch at the building. You had to have information that was populated with us. You had to have information that was populated at the ALI. What we’re doing here is reducing the number of places where the data is populated and verified so that there is one party responsible for it and not a distribution of that data amongst multiple parties in order to get the call flow to work. It’s a massive simplification and responsibility now being placed into one single data set.
Eric: If I could, Irwin, bring you into this. Irwin, did you find in your research any sort of clues about how companies were approaching these kind of human factors in doing this right and in assigning the different responsibilities organizationally and making sure that it is maintained and done right?
Irwin: Yeah. I think historically, it’s been the biggest challenge that organizations have had with respect to 911 and that, you know, there haven’t been great solutions for knowing where the…you know, being able to do that kind of move, that change in real enough time and update the PSLE in real enough time that you could guarantee that’s where…you know, that the location information was accurate. And that’s what we saw, as I mentioned earlier, one of the big reasons why organizations were investing in platforms that would accomplish what Thomas mentioned Microsoft’s dealing with the location information server, is that it would potentially automate through polling of hard phones to find out where they had been moved to and potentially even having a configuration capability on a cell phone that the cell phone could pop up and say, “Hey, I have a different IP address. I have a different MAC address. Where am I?” And ask a user to confirm that address. But it’s always been a very labor-intensive challenge for organizations. We’ve talked to some that have been…you know, for years ago did some consulting with organizations who are implementing, you know, your traditional voice over IP desktop phones, and, you know, you saw everything from lots of hours spent mapping wall-plates to phones to switch ports, hanging signs on switch ports that says, you know, “Do not move one of these wires without filing the proper move and change request because somebody could die.” You know, I’ve seen all sorts of crazy solutions implemented because it has been a real problem to know where people are with any kind of guarantee of accuracy.
Eric: Okay. Let me move on. We have a question. I’ll maybe start with…go back to you, Irwin, and then we can bring in Thomas and Tricia. The person is asking, how will all this work with legacy systems? They call up some examples like government buildings that may have analog and digital systems intermixed in a migration to Teams that’s much more gradual and staged. You know, how do you effectively become compliant with that kind of environment?
Irwin: I’ll refer to Thomas on that one.
Thomas: Yeah. Let me take a crack at that. So we deal with this all the time where we’ve got a customer that says…let’s say an enterprise. It could be very large enterprises, you know, fortune 1000 companies that go, “I’ve got an Avaya system in my headquarters. I’ve got a bunch of Cisco systems for all of my branch offices. I’ve got a call center, and that’s some homegrown solution. We wanna go to Teams. How do I make all this legacy equipment compliant?” Well, the Avaya system has its own 911 capabilities. The Cisco systems have their own 911 capabilities. It’s when you’re using Microsoft Teams, you know, through the Microsoft application that it’s pertinent. If you pick up a phone on Avaya switch, then that’s gonna use the Avaya technique, you know, for getting out to 911. And if it’s legacy, legacy and going out through PRI, you know, using techniques that I described, it’s not integrated with Teams, right? It’s an adjunct ancillary of just a box, right? Don’t overthink the ubiquitousness and the ability to integrate legacy technologies, some don’t. They just don’t and they, you know, get manufactured discontinued and then replaced. And when you are doing the replacement, that’s when you’re looking for some of these integrations.
Eric: Maybe I missed that you explained it. Do RAY BAUM’S and Kari’s Law, do they grandfather in, you know, kind of like an ADA type of situation where you don’t have to immediately bring every single element in compliance?
Thomas: I’ll take a crack at it and then maybe let Trish. And this is where I love to use this…I always have to use this in customer calls. I’m not a lawyer nor am I interpreting law or providing you with an interpretation of what that law means. But, yes, there are grandfathering things within that piece of legislation and carve-outs for small to medium businesses or things like that, and they’re in there. When I’m talking to clients, I don’t try to convince them how to get around the law. I try to convince them how to apply best practices with what they have.
Tricia: Yeah. Usually, our first recommendation is, you know, we didn’t go to law school. It’s still, you know, a source of tension at the Thanksgiving dinner table. And speak to an attorney, that’s who you really want guiding you. To clarify, there was a question that came through that I can probably answer pretty quickly though asking about who exactly is responsible for the compliance . Is It, you know, the voice provider? Is it the enterprise? The onus is with the enterprise. They are the ones who are responsible for, you know, carriers, for voice service providers, for UKAS platforms. You know, they can play an important role in helping to guide their customers understand these complexities, but ultimately, it’s the enterprise who is gonna be, at the end of the day, responsible.
Irwin: Eric, if I can add. I actually just published a piece on No Jitter with input from Martha Buyer who participates in a lot of our…she is a lawyer and participates in a lot of E911 panels. Under Kari’s law, the letter of the law is only for systems…it only applies to systems sold or installed after the compliance date of February 16th. So by that letter of the law, it would mean that existing systems are not required to be Kari’s law compliant. Now, the question becomes how much risk do you want to take that if you’re not compliant and you have an incident, you know, God forbid, like we saw with Kari Hunt, that you’ve now opened yourself up to legal liability. So that’s where, you know, echoing what Tricia and Thomas said, that’s where you talk to your lawyers. You know, I can’t give legal advice, but, you know, I would think common sense would dictate you’d wanna be compliant.
Thomas: Irwin, that’s a really good point. I want to make sure that our audience remains nervous though. Within that law, it says it does grandfather out the older systems, but when I read it, if your existing system can be provisioned to comply with the law, then it must be provisioned. What I’m saying is that for notifications, you might have purchased…and I’m not picking on Cisco. Actually, they’ve got some really good products here. If you have Cisco…call manager with Cisco emergency responder, there’s a full notification suite in that product that an enterprise may never have turned on. It’s there. The grandfathering clause doesn’t say, “Well, I guess you never turn that on. You’re okay.” No. The grandfathering clause and the regulations, as I read them, again, not a lawyer, says that if you can comply with your existing equipment and it can be provisioned to comply, you have to turn those things on.
Eric: And that also seems like a best practice.
Thomas: I always look at it as a best practice. Let’s take a look at what you got. Let’s look at your equipment. Let’s look at the services that we can provide and see if we can put together what services would be in a building that I would want my daughter, a 27-year-old, to work in.
Irwin. Yeah. That’s the bottom line. You want to create a safer working environment as you can for your employees.
Eric: Okay. A question sort of specific to some of these types of institutions and kind of almost leveraging off the last point. Someone’s asking about places like schools or, you know, campuses where…I mean, certainly, we hear a lot about, you know, the kind of notification systems that campuses are putting in place because of emergencies. Do the laws say, or have you just seen different types of maybe standards where you’re in something like a K through 12 environment or maybe a college environment?
Irwin: Sure. So, I don’t believe that specific to Kari’s Law or RAY BAUM’S Act, but I’m aware of regulations in Texas that require a phone in every K through 12 classrooms for the purposes of 911. New Jersey, I think it was just like a month ago or in December passed a similar regulation. So there’s definitely an uptick in school system room-level communications requirements.
Tricia: Yeah. And we should probably note here that these new FCC rulings don’t necessarily supplant anything at the state level. So wherever the enterprise has employees, you know, the enterprise has a responsibility to meet that level of E911 legislation in the state where the employee is gonna be calling from.
Irwin: Exactly. I have nothing to add to that one.
Eric: Before we go on to the next question, I’m gonna push out here before we get to the end so that you have a chance to see it, the links to some of the resources that we have for you. I’ll give you a chance to look at those while we’re wrapping up our last few questions so you don’t have to look at pictures of us the rest of the time. Here’s a question kind of thinking about that whole issue of where the employee is at. Does the LIS have home addresses of employees in case they are calling 911 from home?
Thomas: So, yes, it’s totally up to the IT manager who’s doing that…populating data in that list. You can absolutely do it. Here’s a nuance on the product and the relationship between Microsoft Teams and Bandwidth. In the past, if the Skype for Business version, the earlier version of this had wanted to include home addresses of employees, they would have had to be provisioned with us. You know, in other words, we would have had home address information for employees, you know, at a business, right? And that’s normal in 911 that you have all this address information. And if it’s a work-from-home person, then it’s normal in 911 to get that address information.
But what Microsoft Teams has done is made it so that we don’t have that data prior to the call. It’s a security benefit that they’re not passing around all of this information to multiple third parties for the purposes of just in case there’s a 911 call. So it’s actually a more secure method. Again, I’ll point too that LIS is the single consolidation of all of that data under the Microsoft Teams environment. There’s no more multiple parties having to coordinate data. It’s a real benefit. So there you have it. Oh, I should mention, the Microsoft Teams product does come with all of those notifications required for Kari’s law. Yeah. I hadn’t said that in the last 45 minutes, and I should say that explicitly. So, it’s handling the RAY BAUM’S Act dispatchable location plus the Kari’s Law notifications plus…all of it. It’s a whole suite.
Tricia: And I’m just gonna jump in, Eric, and say we have way more questions than we can possibly get to in four minutes, and I’m sure these good people need to, you know, go get a drink of water before their next meeting. So maybe one more and then we will take all these questions and wrap it up in a Q&A and provide it back out to everyone who attended and asked today. Thank you for your patience.
Eric: Yeah. Everybody gave us your contact emails when you’re registered. So we’ll be able to pass these along to the Bandwidth folks and get your answers. So I wanna close with somebody…you know, there’s a question about the deployment of Teams as a voice system. I wonder if you look at it as…is this a significant, this whole 911 issue and complying with laws. Should this be a significant driver in sort of encouraging a company to move its voice traffic onto Teams?
Thomas: I personally haven’t viewed it that way. I always view 911 as a problem to solve and make sure that you’ve got best practices. I’ve never seen a 911 feature on a product result in an uptick of the sale of that product in my career, but maybe I’m not a marketing guy. Trish?
Tricia: I’m gonna plead the fifth on that one. Obviously, you know, as I said before, we like the 911, the dynamic 911 features within Microsoft Teams. We’re a proponent of that for the regulatory reasons and because it makes for a safer enterprise. So, do I actually get to have the last word? Irwin, why don’t you take the last word on this?
Irwin: Thank you. Yeah. No, I don’t think it’s something that’s gonna drive people. They’re not gonna say, “Hey, I’m wanna deploy Microsoft Teams because of its 911 capabilities.” I think, you know, going back to some earlier discussion, it’s a comfort factor that it does have a pretty solid capability for tracking location, reporting location, working with a partner like Bandwith to transmit that location so that it is made available to PSAP operators. You know, the challenges that organizations have faced in managing 911 and multi-vendor environments may drive them to adopt Teams maybe a little bit more quickly if they’re currently, say, in a pilot mode, meaning that they may realize that there’s some operational cost efficiencies that they can gain by moving more quickly onto Teams and, you know, taking advantage of that 911 capabilities again as part of that deployment.
Eric: Okay. Great. And with that, we’ll wrap it up. I wanna, Irwin, Tricia, and Thomas, very much. It was terrifically informative and useful hour on E911. Thanks to Bandwidth for sponsoring the webinar and, of course, to everybody online for joining us. We appreciate such a great level of participation. It was really terrific to see that many questions. In the next 24 hours, everybody in the audience is gonna get a follow-up email with a link that you’ll be able to get the presentation on-demand, and we do encourage you to forward that to anybody that maybe didn’t sign up that you think would find this useful. This webinar is copyright by Informa. The presentation materials are owned by or copyrighted by Enterprise Connect and Bandwidth, and the individual speakers are solely responsible for their content and their opinions. On behalf of our guests, I’m Eric Krapf. Thanks for your time and have a great day.