Ether-Serial Link: 911 Call Center Solution

The 911 center located in the Fraser Valley Community of Chilliwack, BC, recently relocated to a brand new facility. As with any move there is always an element of replacing and upgrading older equipment.

Genesis Systems, a developer since 1984 of numerous telecommunications software products, developed GenWatch, a product that replaces the noisy line printers used for backup purposes in 911 emergency centers. Although 911 operators at the E911 centers receive 911 caller name, address, and phone number information right on their computer screens at the time of the call, they also require a backup of this data in the event of equipment failure or after-call investigation.

Typically, 911 emergency centers have used serial line printers connected by a serial cable right to the 911 terminal server to provide the backup 911 caller information. Every time a 911 call is received, the line printer prints 8 to 10 lines of caller information. Needless to say this is not only noisy and disruptive to 911 operators, but it also uses a lot of paper and ink cartridges.

The Chilliwack 911 Center chose GenWatch, a software program that captures, records and scrolls this critical 911 calling information on a computer screen to replace their line printer. GenWatch resides right in the 911 emergency center, allowing 911 operators to scroll or search backwards to obtain the 911 call history information they require. With a click of the mouse they can quickly print just the information they require. Less paper, less noise, less ink, and faster retrieval of information.

However, when Genesis went to install their GenWatch solution they encountered a PC with no serial ports. A replacement PC was out of the question because this particular computer was brand new, had a very small foot print, and was also required to run highly specialized software. Furthermore, a separate PC for GenWatch was not an option because space was a major consideration. An attempt was made to install USB serial ports, but they proved to be unreliable, which is not acceptable for a 911 center.

LAVA, the experts in serial communications, helped solve the problem. LAVA Ether-Serial Links provided the perfect solution because the serial data could be captured right at the 911 terminal server. Next, the data was routed over their existing network to the PC situated in the 911 emergency center. And better still, no dedicated serial cable to connect the PC to the 911 terminal server was required, and the LAVA Ether-Serial Link device server was completely transparent to Genesis GenWatch program (which was designed to receive this data from a serial port).

“We are so impressed with the LAVA Ether-Serial Link device server, and see so many applications for it. We will be introducing it to our dealer network across North America as an inexpensive alternative to the normal method of serial-to-serial connectivity for telecommunications equipment with computers,” says Randy Mennear, President & CEO, Genesis Systems Corp. “It easily pays for itself just by eliminating special cabling costs. And, as an added bonus, it can permit serial data to be accessed from virtually any computer using the Internet,” he adds.

“We are extremely pleased with the solution developed by Genesis and the LAVA Ether-Serial Link. The LAVA Ether-Serial Link has proven to be 100% reliable since installed,” says Doug Joinson, Manager of Communications and Information Services, 911 Emergency Center of Chilliwack, BC.

This is truly a win-win situation for all parties. Connect Simply.