Previously on the pages of this blog, we have talked about the value of automated communication in emergencies. As we’ve previously described, there are many times it is desirable to contact emergency support personnel or first responders without doing so directly or audibly. From situations in which the person calling for help might be injured or indisposed, to situations in which automated alerting (such as from gunshot detectors) is providing information without direct human intervention, automated communication will only become more prominent in public safety.

Caliber worked with the state government of Indiana, for example, to deploy Caliber’s alerting solution, FirstAlert, to protect various campuses in the state. FirstAlert streamlines communication and has the potential to reduce response times for critical incidents by as much as 50%. It makes it possible for designated personnel and other authorized users to request emergency services immediately from any IOS or Android device using a mobile application. By eliminating the need to call 911 and automatically populating incident information, a Call for Service is created in the municipality’s Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. This saves valuable time, provides a discreet means of summoning first responders as quickly as possible, and ensures an immediate response (complete with updated information for those responding).

There is a step to automation that goes beyond automated alerts, however, and that is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Everyone is talking about AI in every industry, it seems, but more and more, we are seeing the applications of AI in public safety software. Caliber itself is exploring the many ways AI can be leveraged in pursuit of public safety software and supporting first response personnel. But even as this occurs, real-world innovations are taking place on-site and in-situ. Just last month, software infrastructure giant Amazon helped deploy a system that can handle non-emergency 911 calls – thus alleviating some of dispatchers’ workloads.

“…Arlington County decided to go high tech to take some of that stress off employees,” writes Eric Flack, Erin Spaht, and Tom Kopania. “Arlington County is one of the first 911 call centers in the country, and the first in the northeast, to use artificial intelligence to handle non-emergency calls using a system called Amazon Connect.”

The authors explain, “Even when people in Arlington dial a dedicated non-emergency line, the call comes to the emergency call center. Now, an automated voice answers those calls. Then the AI robot takes you through the same steps a human would.” The system can take reports of things like graffiti, storm damage, and other non-emergency issues, while sending the caller links to fill out police reports. This is all work that dispatchers would have had to do manually before.

For very good reasons, right now, AI is not taking emergency calls… but as the technology becomes more sophisticated, that likely will change. Imagine a 911 center in which an endless number of calls can be handled simultaneously because AI is processing it. There are concerns, of course; human oversight would be necessary. But the potential is clear and we are already seeing the first steps in real results.

Without doubt, automating communication (both incoming AND outgoing) will be part of the future of public safety software. It will be fascinating to see how this plays out… and extremely rewarding to be part of that industry development. Caliber Public Safety will remain committed to providing public safety personnel with the best software possible as the industry continues to evolve.