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9-1-1 Magazine: Managing Emergency Communications

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Smarter Analytics, Smarter Emergency Services

Author: Diego Lomanto

Copyright: Copyright 9-1-1 Magazine, Feature Content

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By Diego Lomanto, Senior solutions marketing manager, Verint Systems

Today’s public safety agencies are being pushed to run like a business—all while under increasing pressure to take on more responsibility with constrained resources and budgets. Efficiency and speed are key operations objectives in today’s public safety answering points (PSAPs). They must be able to reconstruct incidents quickly and efficiently to conduct faster, more productive investigations; they must be able to rapidly identify bottlenecks and call handling problems that delay response and reduce effectiveness; and they must be able to continuously measure and fine-tune the performance of call takers, supervisors, dispatchers and other emergency communications personnel.

In short, they have to do everything and more. Public safety mangers, call takers and dispatchers can use technology to help assist in their investigations to quickly find relevant calls. With the introduction of advanced analytics—and increased access to unstructured and structured data—public safety organizations can now analyze recorded calls to facilitate investigations, provide insight into trends and reveal opportunities for enhanced processes and training.

Leveraging Speech Analytics to Aid in Investigations

In 2009, a PSAP in Pennsylvania put speech analytics software and call recording technology into action across its operation. The jurisdiction had experienced a string of porch fire arson incidents. As part of the investigative process, the fire department compiled a list of all the home addresses where the arsons occurred. By using speech analytics, the Pennsylvania PSAP was able to identify other related crimes by searching through its broader database of 9-1-1 calls. What the analytics software revealed was that a number of other addresses had similar arson-related crimes. Without speech analytics the authorities would not be able to make the correlations and see the full picture. The investigation may have dragged on and cost the state appreciably more money.

The Pennsylvania PSAP was able to use speech analytics to search for similar crimes in 9-1-1 recordings because the technology goes far beyond basic word-spotting the practice of using a set of pre-defined words to search data. The adjacent correlations would never have been found. Speech analytics has the capability to index every word and phrase identified for context and meaning. For instance, a PSAP will be able to search for when and where the terms “fire,” “porch” and “burn” were spoken and why. It can then isolate respective conversations for further investigation, and with trend analysis, reveal activity around these terms. By determining the correlation between calls early enough, law enforcement may be able to initiate preventive measures and help curtail incidents and crimes.

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Improving Operational Efficiency with Speech Analytics

The Pennsylvania PSAP story is just one example of how speech analytics can assist public safety agencies in identifying trends and assisting in crime investigations, as well as enhancing the quality of life for citizens. Speech analytics is an advanced technology that aids investigators in mining 911 calls for investigative reasons. And leveraged even further, it also can also help today’s PSAPs improve public safety center operations by identifying process bottlenecks and opportunities for operational improvements.

PSAP mangers can also apply speech analytics to identify staff training opportunities. Historically, reviewing enough calls to identify performance trends and challenges has been a manual task that many centers have not had the resources or budget to fulfill. Public safety operations also have often lacked formalized quality and analysis processes, leaving them only a limited view of what is really happening across their operations. One way a PSAP’s quality supervisor can improve call handling is by finding recorded interactions in which call takers handled certain types of situations well, and then leveraging those interactions to create best practice training scenarios for call takers and dispatchers alike. For instance, if a call taker effectively responds to a bleeding incident and successfully walks the caller through the process of applying tourniquets while waiting for emergency helpthat conversation can be located via speech analytics and distributed to other call takers for training purposes.

Technology in the PSAP has evolved steadily since 1968, when the first 9-1-1 call was placed in Haleyville, Alabama. By applying analytics capabilities that have been proven in other commercial uses, PSAPs are be able to leverage a unique set of trend-spotting functionality to help reduce crime and improve the quality of life for citizens, as well as provide sophisticated tools to aid investigators in leveraging emergency services interactions in ongoing investigations. Speech analytics represents a significant step forward in emergency communications.

About the Author
Diego Lomanto is senior solutions marketing manager for Verint® Systems. He is focused on Verint’s analytics productshelping define features and functionality, while enabling organizations to get the most from their analytics technology. Lomanto has authored numerous articles, and is a frequent speaker at industry events, where he discusses improving business performance and increasing customer satisfaction by leveraging organization’s key competitive advantage – customer interactions.
For further information, see:
www.verint.com.

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