Rave Mobile Safety Introduces Open Data API for 911 Call Centers

Rave Mobile Safety's Smart911Connect software interface allows 911 call centers to receive text and images in multiple data formats to help them relay information to first responders.

Rave Mobile Safety, a software developer for first responders, has launched Smart911Connect, an open standards-based programming interface that allows third-party software to deliver vital data to 911 centers and first responders.

Public safety answering points (PSAPs) in 28 states use the company's Smart911 national public safety database to protect millions of citizens, Rave reported.

Announced on Feb. 11, the Smart911Connect software module will connect third-party data streams such those from PBXs showing caller location within a corporate campus and information management systems showing elevators out of service at the scene of an emergency.

PSAPs then aggregate this data and deliver it to first responders.

"We've got a gateway to grabbing any type of data that would be relevant to an emergency response process," Todd Piett, chief product officer for Rave Mobile Safety, told eWEEK.

The open interface allows the Smart911 profiles to appear on 911 center computer screens anywhere in the country, said Piett.

Rave built the data network using Linux and a MySQL infrastructure written on Java, said Piett. It also uses XML and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) to connect with various 911 centers.

"The systems we integrate with could be anything," said Piett. "There's a ton of potential data sources out there."

Smart911Connect logs data for audit purposes and secures data during transfer to a 911 Center using Next Generation 911 (NG911) and the FBI's Criminal Justice Information System-compliant standards.

NG911 consists of end-to-end IP communication standards allowing secure transfer of text messages, images, video and data to a 911 center.

"We've developed a method that's been vetted and approved for delivering data to 911 centers," said Piett.

By providing a profile containing text and images, Smart911 goes beyond traditional 911 calls, which only provide a phone number onscreen as well as some information about the caller's location, Rave reported.

To prepare first responders and 911 call centers before an emergency actually occurs, people can create profiles containing vital information at the Smart911 Web site. This data may include information on latex allergies, medications and physical requirements such as a lift for obese patients, said Piett.

One of the challenges of sharing emergency information in 911 networks is that they are closed data systems, said Piett.

However, with Smart911Connect, software providers will be able to embed this rich data within applications without the need for complex sourcing, formatting and validating new data forms.

When data is verifiable and in a usable format, it can improve the emergency response process, Brian Tegtmeyer, executive director of Illinois 911 center DuPage Public Safety Communications (DU-COMM), said in a statement.

Companies that offer applications for first responders and 911 centers include Conveyant Systems and Wellcase.

"As information changes in the enterprise—whether a new building is opened, a VoIP [voice over IP] user logs on in a new location or emergency instructions for a specific area are modified—Conveyant's Sentry application gathers these changes on a nearly real-time basis and stores them in our database," Tim Kenyon, president of Conveyant Systems, said in a statement. "With the integration to Smart911Connect, this information will be immediately available to the PSAP."

Smart911 data could also incorporate floor plans of locations such as schools or homes, including how many people live there, how many bedrooms, as well as the number of pets and vehicles owned by the household.

The data could allow a 911 center to relay information on where automatic external defibrillator paddles are located, Piett noted.

The rich data of Smart911Connect connects to personal health records, where patients store information about medications and allergies, said Piett.

For patients with heart conditions, "chest X-rays could be delivered all the way down the chain of care with proper permissions," Piett noted.

Piett sees the Smart911 program expanding into remote home monitoring, where patients can relay info from medical devices such as blood glucose meters to 911 call centers.