View All News

D.C. 911 Calls Answered Within Five Seconds with IBM Call Center Solution

  • IBM and Avaya Power Faster, More Efficient Emergency Response

Emergency responders can now answer calls for help from Washington, D.C. residents within five seconds with a new integrated phone system designed, developed and installed by IBM using Avaya contact center solutions and software.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Emergency responders can now answer calls for help from city residents within five seconds with a new integrated phone system designed, developed and installed by IBM (NYSE: IBM).


With the new Unified Communications Center 99.7 percent of emergency calls are answered within five seconds with most calls answered in less than one second. That compares to a national average of about 10 seconds.


The new center integrates emergency call centers for D.C. police, fire, rescue and emergency responders and can handle an estimated 2.65 million calls a year.


"In our business, wasted time can be life-threatening," said E. Michael Latessa, director of the District's Unified Communication Center. "This integrated system eliminates the need to transfer calls between agencies, so we're able to save time, reduce the potential for errors and dispatch first responders more quickly and efficiently."


The center also will house contact center agents who answer a non-emergency "Action Line" for Mayor Anthony Williams, as well as the general 311 information line called by city residents with questions or concerns, ranging from where to renew a driver's license to how to locate a towed vehicle. 


While the new communications system features improved performance, it also has new capabilities, like caller identification and location information. The new system automatically identifies callers and their location when they place a 911 call, even if they're calling from a wireless device, like a cell phone. This new capability makes it easier to quickly dispatch appropriate personnel to respond to an emergency.


"The system also has the ability to track information so the center can identify trends and patterns, which gives staff insight into the changing needs of the community," said Mark Belser, who led the project for IBM. "That is especially beneficial to an area like D.C. that services 580,000 residents and 2 million visitors each day."


IBM designed and delivered a new 911 call center architecture which includes the first all-digital solution in the U.S. that eliminates the use of traditional analog CAMA signaling between 9-1-1 CTI call routers and the call center PBX. IBM partnered with Avaya for the call center and building communications server, PlantCML® for CTI 9-1-1 specific CTI workstation software and Spectracom for NENA compliant timing systems.


IBM also provided engineering expertise and coordination with the existing PlantCML® carrier-class tandem switching systems to provide for a completely uninterrupted migration from the old 9-1-1 network to the new one. Caller 9-1-1 workstations are provided by Lenovo. Supporting the solution for call center reporting, CTI and 9-1-1 routing computing are IBM X-Series servers and network attached storage.        


The Avaya Call Center and PlantCML® Sentinel 9-1-1® for Avaya software analyze incoming calls and use patented algorithms to route them automatically to the most appropriate agent. The Avaya Call Management System and Operational Analyst software analyze how well the center is managing calls and indicate where administrators can take fast and effective action to improve performance. 


Avaya's communication solution for the center interoperates with Sentinel 9-1-1® for Avaya, which is an intelligent CTI workstation application for 911 dispatchers provided by PlantCML®, a company specializing in mission-critical 911 emergency response and systems management solutions. Calls can be answered and managed from the workstation using a graphical user interface that integrates directly with Avaya's telephony software. Avaya digital phones on each desktop serve as a backup in the event a workstation fails. The PlantCML Sentinel 9-1-1® solution also provides for a seamless audio bridge to emergency management communications which allows the 9-1-1 operator to bring emergency personnel on radio to communicate directly with the 9-1-1 caller. All systems log events through a common time stamp provided by the IBM designed NENA-compliant timing system as well as being recorded digitally for archive purposes. 


The IBM/Avaya work for the Unified Communication Center builds on the companies' proven success in creating a converged communication solution for the District that serves 30,000 employees of 60 agencies at 360 sites throughout the city. Part of the city's DC-Net initiative – a municipally owned fiber-optic network and telecommunications system – the IBM/Avaya improving communications reliability and boosting responsiveness to constituents.


For more information, visit


# # #

Categories: Press Releases
View All News