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State Preps for $2M Text-to-911 Contract

The Governor's Office of Emergency Services is looking at integrating all 911 services under Next-Generation technology, which would allow Californians to send a text message in an emergency.

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The Governor's Office of Emergency Services is looking at integrating all 911 services under Next-Generation technology, which would allow Californians to send a text message in an emergency.

While the $2.1 million project is budgeted under the State Emergency Telephone Number Account, a special fund to pay for planning and implementation of emergency 911 services, the Governor's Office and the Legislature are working on a long-term fund.

In the short term, the text-to-911 solution will integrate with equipment at individual dispatch centers, which will also be able to provide locations of devices. The vendor will be required to offer device location services, but "in the interim, Cal OES is working on a solution to deploy supplemental location information" to all dispatch centers, said CalOES spokesman Robb Mayberry.

Next-Generation 911 technology would base the system on IP addresses, allowing for location routing, text, video and photo capabilities.

There are not many software choices that can work at legacy call centers or with computer-aided dispatch equipment, so the state is looking for a Next-Generation solution that works as a stand-alone program. An integrated solution would be rolled out as legacy systems reach the end of their life cycle.

Mayberry told Techwire that the use of RapidSOS Clearinghouse — a program that collects location information and other 911 data — will likely be part of the solution. California's 911 system includes more than 440 dispatch centers and more than 28 million calls a year.

The last day to submit proposals is Feb. 8 and the contract will begin April 10.

Kayla Nick-Kearney was a staff writer for Techwire from March 2017 through January 2019.