Orleans Parish Communication District marked its official cut over to the AT&T ESInet™ and Carbyne APEX call handling systems on June 24th, 2022 at eleven o’clock am CST with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at OPCD headquarters on the front lawn.
“To deliver the best service to the citizens of New Orleans, it is imperative that OPCD leverages the best technology available to us,” said Tyrell Morris, Executive Director of Orleans Parish Communication District. “As we enter hurricane season these improvements will provide our public safety teams with the resiliency needed to help ensure continuity of operations. These upgrades will bring revolutionary change to how 9-1-1 is handled in Orleans Parish.”
Carbyne APEX will effectively eliminate the agency’s dependency on the Legacy 911 system and allow for a cloud-based interface that the ESINet system goes through by bringing i3 cloud-native NG911 (Next Generation 911) omni-channel contact center solutions to OPCD’s emergency communications center. These technologies will introduce anytime, anywhere 9-1-1 call handling capabilities with the launch of Carbyne APEX. This freedom enables PSAP (Public Service Answering Points) to perform remotely depending on need, keeping 9-1-1 operations fully functional in the event of onsite disasters. “An emergency communications specialists could use a laptop with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and a headset and fully functionally take the calls from anywhere in the world,” said Karl Fasold, Director of Technology at Orleans Parish Communication District. “This would be helpful not only during a natural disaster but a pandemic.”
The transition to Carbyne APEX will provide OPCD with features such as, patented live video and images from callers, silent instant messaging, text to 9-1-1 compatibility, real-time speech transcription, along with IoT (Internet of Things) data aggregation from drones, traffic cameras, and more. The system will also deliver on-demand device-based caller location, allowing emergency communication specialists to know the exact location of a caller based on their device.
“Carbyne provides the latest NG911 cloud native technologies to (PSAPs) Public Safety Answering Points globally,” said Amir Elichai, CEO and co-founder of Carbyne. “6,500 PSAPs in the US deserve the best technologies in order to save lives. New Orleans is a very complex city for emergency personnel. Urban areas with urban challenges. Tourists who do not know the area, natural disasters, such as hurricanes, which come to shore each year and much more. The people of New Orleans deserve the most technologically advanced 911 service in the market, and the emergency personnel deserve a system that allows them to dispatch help while keeping responders safe quickly and efficiently. Carbyne APEX provides it all in one from the cloud including full call control powered by sophisticated data collaboration and a suite of supporting products. We’ve designed APEX to help those who are experiencing an emergency while also providing call takers a consolidated platform which provides ALL they need in ONE screen – the age of multiple screens is OVER! Carbyne is a one stop shop eco-system for all emergency communication.”
OPCD’s cut over to AT&T ESInet will switch the agency from the legacy 9-1-1 call routing system, an analog-based call routing system to a Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1), cloud-based environment. The new system will bring improved location accuracy and caller information, as well as improvements to text to 9-1-1 and provide call takers with broader access to multi-media over the 9-1-1 network. AT&T ESInet deployment also allows for geographically separate team points that are not located inside the New Orleans metro area. These points protect the emergency communication center from being impacted by localized events in the City of New Orleans and are far enough away that anything occurring in southeastern Louisiana will not affect them. “We have multiple ESInet connections that are geographically separated throughout the country…and these connections feed into redundant cloud infrastructure,” said Director Fasold.
AT&T ESInet services were created to improve emergency communications reliability and flexibility and equip public safety professionals with additional tools to execute their missions. The ESInet system is an IP-based call routing platform that helps emergency communication centers keep up with the current and future needs of their residents. This is done by providing alternate routing to neighboring PSAPs during times of overload, securing backup support and the ability to be more responsive while providing reliable service. Six separate cores located throughout the country create greater resiliency and network redundancy; these cores are able to support 200% of the national 9-1-1 call volume at its peak.
Specific improvements across the network include: improved location-based services, the ability to handle unexpected call volumes, enhanced backup capabilities, and the enablement of data sharing.
In addition to cutting over to these new systems, OPCD will also be hardening its network since Hurricane Ida in 2021 with FirstNet. FirstNet is the only network built with and for America’s first responders and extended public safety community. It’s designed to give first responders the ability to communicate with one another easily and quickly during everyday situations, large-scale events, or emergencies. It is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government.
With hurricane season upon us, OPCD has extended redundancy measures by acquiring a FirstNet compact rapid deployable (CRD). This rapid deployable can be deployed by the agency in a matter of minutes to support service during a hurricane or large-scale events. The CRD provides the agency with access to a dedicated band 14 connectivity whenever it’s needed.
Louisiana’s first responders depend on reliable communications before, during and after emergencies”, said Mayor Billy Hewes, who is the Mayor of Gulfport, MS and serves on the Board of the First Responder Network Authority. “When seconds count, FirstNet will be there for OPCD with redundant communications and enhanced situational awareness for their life saving mission.”
“Deploying and upgrading these new systems will further allow OPCD to execute our mission of Getting the Right People, To the Right Place, At the Right Time, Better Than Anyone Else In the World,” said Director Morris. “We are excited to for the future of 9-1-1 in our city and across the nation.”
About the Orleans Parish Communication District (www.OPCDLA.gov)
Formed in 1982, the Orleans Parish Communication District is the PSAP for all emergency communications via 9-1-1, and non-emergency communications via 3-1-1, within Orleans Parish. The agency employs over 180 individuals and provides emergency medical dispatch, emergency fire dispatch, and emergency police dispatch for the millions of annual visitors and residents of the City of New Orleans. OPCD is a member of the Association of Public Safety Communication Officials (APCO) and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).
The Mission of OPCD is to get the Right People to the Right Place at the Right Time, Better than Anyone Else in the World
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