N.C.'s Next Generation 911 System Wins National Awards for Innovation, Leadership

The N.C. 911 Board's Next Generation 911 project has earned awards from two national groups recognizing its innovation and leadership in utilizing IP infrastructure and geospatial data to improve the accuracy and reliability of emergency calling.

NASCIO Enterprise IT Management
Initiative award 

"The awards showcase what we have done with Next Generation 911 in North Carolina," said Pokey Harris, executive director of the N.C. 911 Board. "We know what a valuable service this is to our citizens in North Carolina, but to have our project recognized nationally only validates the investment of time and money by the North Carolina 911 Board and DIT."

Next Gen 911, within the N.C. Department of Information Technology, received the Enterprise IT Management Initiative award among the National Association of State Chief Information Officers' State IT Recognition Awards, which honor transformative technology projects by state governments. It was presented at NASCIO's annual conference in October, attended by state chief information officers, other technology officials and technology organizations.

NSGIC Geospatial Excellence Award:

The National States Geographic Information Council also gave a Geospatial Excellence Award: Catalyst to Next Gen 911 for leveraging geospatial technology to improve public service and promote its effective adoption by government. The award was presented at the NSGIC annual conference in September.

"These awards are important because they highlight the work that local governments across the state have been putting into the creation and maintenance of critical geospatial data over the past few decades," said Matt McLamb, assistant director of the N.C. Center for Geographic Information & Analysis.

The N.C. 911 Board has led the nation in the transition of public safety answering points to voice over Internet protocol systems. Under statewide contracts with AT&T and GeoComm, Durham 911 became the first PSAP in the country to transition to this system. All 127 PSAPs in North Carolina are expected to migrate to the Next Gen system by early 2022.

Next Gen 911's system can handle text messages, as well as phone calls, and can better pinpoint callers' location. It also provides call backup capabilities when PSAPs are hit with a natural disaster or call overload.

"Geospatial data has had an important role in public safety for many years. Next Gen 911 is the latest technology to take advantage of its ability to provide accurate location information along with important supplemental data, such as the county, PSAP, and local fire, law, and EMS station for a 911 call," McLamb said. "Additionally, due to the existing strong collaboration between the local governments and the state, the collection and aggregation of the geospatial data proved to be a smooth and familiar process.“

"What NextGen does is enable us to provide the kind of support our citizens deserve by responding to them at the worst time in their lives," said Gerry Means, Next Gen 911 project manager. "It is the 21st-century lifesaver."