Replacing Aging 9-1-1 Systems

The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) was able to assist The Department of Public Safety and partner with the City of Columbus Communications Division to upgrade its aging 9-1-1 emergency answering platform, which was no longer supported by the manufacturer. 

The Ohio State University Department of Public Safety provides law enforcement, security services, emergency management planning and other public safety services to create a safe and secure environment to nearly 100,000 university students, faculty, staff and visitors. 

Originally, most 9-1-1 systems were built using analog rather than digital technologies. These public safety answering points (PSAPs) need to be upgraded to a digital or Internet Protocol (IP)-based 9-1-1 system. This new system is commonly referred to as Next Generation 911 (NG911). NG911 is an evolving system of hardware, software, standards, policies and training.  

The success and reliability of 9-1-1 will be greatly improved with the implementation of NG911. It will enhance emergency number services to improve responses by creating a faster, more resilient system that allows voice, photos, videos and text messages to flow seamlessly from the public to the 9-1-1 network 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. NG911 will also improve PSAP ability to help manage call overload, natural disasters and transferring of 9-1-1 calls with proper jurisdictional responses based on location tracking. 

Denis Walsh with OARnet worked with the City of Columbus CIO, Sam Orth, to secure diverse fiber connections from the Ohio State dispatch center to the City of Columbus 9-1-1 Centers at Arlingate Avenue and Fairwood Avenue.   

Columbus is one of four primary wireless public safety answering points in Franklin County. The City of Columbus coordinated with Ohio State to allow Ohio State to become a remote office of the City’s NG911 Intrado Viper system. The Intrado Viper Remote Office will direct Ohio State 9-1-1 calls to the Ohio State dispatch center on the Columbus campus through redundant connections provided by OARnet and the City of Columbus.  

The OARnet connections not only provide efficiency for Ohio State 9-1-1 operations, but also provide the City of Columbus with a secure internet service through OARnet. This partnership resulted in significant one-time savings as well as recurring annual savings to Ohio State, benefiting the taxpayers and those requesting emergency services.