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Heywire Business is the First IP Mobile Messaging Service Provider to Announce Compliance with the FCC Text-to-9-1-1 Rule

Date: 2014-10-31
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HeyWire Business, the leading enterprise mobile messaging cloud service,  announced that it is implementing text-to-9-1-1 capabilities for its Business Messenger app nearly a month ahead of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) deadline of December 31, 2014 for mobile network operators and IP mobile messaging service providers – or what the agency refers to as “Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS)” and “interconnected messaging providers” – to support text-to-9-1-1 on their networks.

Operating on any iOS, Android or Windows Phone smartphone or tablet that has a cellular connection, the Business Messenger app enables users to send and receive texts from their office phone numbers, providing a true “one number” business identity for voice and text. Similar to how people use different business and personal email accounts, Business Messenger provides separation between business and personal texts and will be the first business text messaging service to support text-to-9-1-1 on its network for subscribers.

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In August, the FCC announced that all CMRS and interconnected messaging providers must support text-to-9-1-1 capabilities on their networks by the end of 2014. Text-to-9-1-1 requires support at both ends of the connection – the CMRS or interconnected messaging providers for users to send a text from their mobile devices, as well as the ability to receive those text messages at the local 9-1-1 call centers, also known as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). Currently, there are a limited number of 9-1-1 call centers serving portions of 16 states and all of Vermont and Maine that accept text-to-9-1-1, but availability is expanding. If a user tries to send a text-to-9-1-1 message in an area where the 9-1-1 call center does not accept it yet, they will receive an automatic bounce-back message informing them to call 9-1-1. The FCC required the bounce-back message in 2013 and HeyWire Business implemented it six months ahead of the major CMRS and other interconnected messaging providers.

“As texting becomes integral to business communications, our support of text-to-9-1-1 is an important step to help ensure public safety as user habits and expectations evolve in our increasingly mobile-first society,” said Gene Lew, CTO of HeyWire Business. “Our cloud-based architecture was designed with flexibility so we could add features like text-to-9-1-1 quickly and roll them out to all our subscribers, eliminating the challenges faced by messaging providers with device-centric architectures that limit their abilities to adapt.”

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Even as text-to-9-1-1 becomes more widely supported by 9-1-1 call centers, the FCC advises users to always contact 9-1-1 by making a voice call, if possible. Text-to-9-1-1 is viewed as a complementary emergency communications option that can be a lifesaving alternative in a number of situations, including when a person who is deaf, hard of hearing or has a speech disability is unable to make a voice call, in locations where voice networks are congested, or when a 9-1-1 voice call could endanger the caller.

Built on the industry’s first cloud platform for messaging services that handles more than a billion messages each month, Business Messenger is used directly by business users and through white-labeled enterprise solutions offered through leading business telecommunications providers. In addition to mobile devices, users can access their Business Messenger accounts from a PC, a Mac or through integration with Cisco Jabber for Windows.

Additional Resources

      FCC text-to-9-1-1 quick facts & FAQ

      FCC text-to-9-1-1 order

      PSAPs supporting text-to-9-1-1 [pdf] 

      Business Messenger by HeyWire product info

For more information About HeyWire Business, see http://www.heywirebusiness.com

- Corporate News/9-1-1magazine.com (via HeyWire, 10/29/14)

 

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