Nancy MacDonald looks at Australia’s nationwide upgrade to Solacom Guardian emergency call handling and what it means for Australians in distress.
A couple of weeks ago, Australian telecom provider, Telstra, opened a new contact center for emergency call handling and management in Adelaide. It was an important moment for Australians and for all of us at Solacom. Starting in 2020, Telstra will roll out next-generation emergency calling services for the entire population of Australia. And our Solacom Guardian call handling solutions are at the heart of the nationwide upgrade.
Our Guardian solutions have been selected for large-scale deployments before — the statewide NG9-1-1 deployment in Maine is a good example — but a nationwide next-gen deployment is an achievement on a whole new level.
We’ve been partnering with Telstra to execute on the country’s Next Generation Triple Zero (NG000) strategy for quite a while now. But, we didn’t announce it until Telstra recently confirmed the nationwide Guardian solution deployment when it announced the opening of its new, 24-hour Triple Zero contact center in Adelaide.
Nationwide Call Handling for Almost 9 Million Calls a Year
A Triple Zero (000) contact center in Australia is the equivalent of a 9-1-1 public safety answering point (PSAP) in North America. The new 20-position contact center in Adelaide is connected to the country’s other two contact centers in Sydney and Melbourne. Each contact center will rely on our Guardian 9-1-1 Call Handling solution for emergency call management.
Together, Australia’s three Triple Zero contact centers will handle more than 8.9 million emergency calls every year and connect more than 6.6 million of those calls to emergency services.
To ensure that all Australians enjoy the fastest possible access to emergency assistance, the system is set up so that the first available agent at any center answers the call, no matter where the call originated.
Accelerating emergency call handling is extremely important to Telstra, and the company has very strict requirements for response times. In 2018, Telstra’s contact center agents answered 92.8 percent of calls within five seconds or less, and 97.5 percent of calls within 10 seconds or less.
Telstra is also focused on streamlining its operations, and ensuring full compliance with reporting requirements, so the company is using our Guardian call reporting offering to collect, record, and analyze call data.
A Digital Platform for the Future
Like most PSAPs in North America, the Triple Zero contact centers in Australia are receiving more and more emergency calls from mobile phones. About 75 percent of all Triple Zero calls in Australia now originate from mobile phones.
As a result, one of Telstra’s next initiatives will be to implement Advanced Mobile Location (AML) technology so that emergency services staff can more accurately pinpoint the location of people calling from mobile devices. We’re working closely with Telstra to implement AML and the project is on-track to start rolling out in May 2020.
And that’s just the beginning. Telstra Contact Centre Executive, Claire Johnston, has also noted that the Guardian solution gives Australians a digital platform that can be enhanced with multimedia features as more advanced technologies become available.
“Imagine one day being able to make a video call or send a message to emergency services, which could provide them more information about your problem or a discreet way of alerting authorities if calling isn’t an option, such as in a domestic violence situation,” she said.
A Strong and Proud Partnership
Australia’s nationwide next-gen call handling deployment is a huge vote of confidence in our Guardian solutions, and we’re extremely proud to be partnering with Telstra as they execute on their very forward-looking strategy.
To keep you up to date on Australia’s ongoing evolution to more advanced emergency call handling, we’ll provide updates when we can, so keep an eye on our blog and social media posts.