Operating a 9-1-1 call center is a thankless task. The callers are anything but calm and patient. The call-takers are stressed and pressured, and the stakes are high. Add an ever-watching news media pounces whenever a mistake is made—and mistakes do happen. Simply put, a 9-1-1 call center can be a nightmare for public safety managers. Mindful of this fact, Verint Systems
has introduced its Impact 360 for Public Safety Powered by Audiolog. The software is designed to capture all elements of the caller / call-taker interaction...and more.
Impact 360 for Public Safety begins by using Audiolog to capture all incoming / outgoing traffic. This means analog, digital and VoIP telephone calls, and trunked and conventional radio communications. The system records all of these communications, tagging each one with number, time and location information, using radio-generated ANI/ALI, ICCS, or CAD systems.
The solution’s “Instant Recall Playback” allows the call-taker to immediately replay what the caller just said to ensure that the right details were noted into the CAD system. Impact 360 records the 9-1-1 call-takers’ screens, including screen changes, mouse movements and keystrokes. All of this takes place in the background, without causing visible system delays or pop-up windows.
Supervisors can tap into the system to review the status of calls in progress, retrieve recorded calls and play them back on their own PCs. For radio, monitoring rights can be preset based on channel, agent and/or talk-group accessed. The Impact 360 call database can be searched by date, time, duration, channel, agent, caller ID, DNIS, ANI, ALI, call index number, and CTI private data. Radio messages can be searched by radio talk-group and radio ID. Multiple audio / data files can be reviewed at a time.
Impact 360 for Public Safety files can be saved directly to RAID-configured hard drives or to storage elsewhere on the departmental LAN. Older records can be archived to DVD-RAM optical disks. One nice feature is that it creates a “playback audit trail” that shows who has retrieved a recording and the date and time they played it back.
So far, the capabilities we have noted are derived from the Audiolog component. However, Impact 360 for Public Safety can do much more when it comes to analyzing call-taker performance.
Here is a case in point. Impact 360 can be preset to flag a number of calls from each call-taker for Quality Assurance call review, making for easy and ongoing performance evaluation. These can then be scored by supervisors using criteria chosen by the department, with the individual scores being sent to the call-takers.
This provides a fast-response solution to performance management and a way to solve problems before they get out of hand. It can also be used as part of the system’s e-learning function to help call-takers do a better job. (You can even send out post-call surveys to the people who called in to rate the 9-1-1 call center’s performance.)
Also, Impact 360 can compile data on average call length per category (B&E, assault), time of day, call origination location, average hold times, and of other data that helps supervisors monitor the overall operation of their call center. In summary, Impact 360 for Public Safety is a full 9-1-1 call center management, analysis and educational software package.
“Next-generation 9-1-1 is arriving, and with it comes new demands on technologies, processes and employee skills,” said Nancy Treaster, Verint Systems’ senior vice president and general manager. “With our ongoing investment in next-generation 9-1-1—coupled with Verint’s experience, successful track record and understanding of the different parts of the public safety network market and how they’re converging—we’re pleased to bring Impact 360 for Public Safety to market, supporting PSAPs in meeting vital emergency response and citizen safety requirements.” Analysis
The continuing trend of Americans to litigate first and ask questions later makes effective 9-1-1 call centers more important than ever before. Government money spent on court settlements is money that’s not available for public safety funding.
In a very real sense, not managing your 9-1-1 call center without a comprehensive product like Impact 360 for Public Safety is just asking for a lawsuit. More than ever, public safety agencies need to record everything coming into 9-1-1 accurately and in detail. They also need to be able to demonstrate—both to the courts and the public at large—that they are doing everything they should to monitor these calls and improve their call center’s incident responses and professionalism. Impact 360 is designed to do this.
Be sure to review all of Verint’s options to see what fits best within your budget before you buy. As the Guilford Metro 9-1-1 case study shows (see sidebar), it is possible to implement a less complicated product like Audiolog and still enjoy substantial management benefits.
As for selling this system to your political masters? Your best argument is a mix of enhanced public safety and reduced exposure to lawsuits. Also, eliminating embarrassing 9-1-1 calls being played back on the local TV news is a big benefit, especially for officials not wanting to look bad before an election!
James Careless is a freelance writer who specializes in first responder communications issues. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.