Peering Into the Crystal Ball of Public Safety

By Daniel Limon, Chief of Staff, Carbyne

The public safety world is unique in many ways. Success is measured by lives saved while standard business ROI metrics are secondary. Trust is earned primarily through a track record of reliability. Employees always feel a real sense of pride in what they do and everyone you meet seems to have 30 years of experience in the industry.

In my short time at New York based public safety communication management software company Carbyne (in public safety standards), I spent time researching trends affecting the public safety call center software industry and predicting their implications on the PSAPs of the future. When it comes to what lies ahead for emergency call center software and relevant clients, I will share my thoughts below, however, the bottom line is that the future will look very different from the past, now is a good time to start preparing, and despite some of the pessimism in the buildup there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Let’s start with staffing, since PSAPs (who are the primary users of 911 call taking software) are already having a difficult time finding talent. It’s important to note that for better and worse this issue is not unique to PSAPs, as general unemployment levels are constantly setting record lows. Other reasons for this problem include “the great resignation” led by a new generation of employees being less loyal than ever before. Staying at one place for two years is considered dedication, remote jobs offered via email and LinkedIn provide a constant flow of alternatives and rising private sector salaries and benefits are putting additional pressure on government agencies. Contracting demographics and urbanization also don’t favor most agencies using emergency call handling software. In short, PSAPs, like all organizations, will need to do more to find new employees and work harder to keep them happy. Technology will play a critical role in empowering employees by minimizing repetitive tasks and allowing each employee to handle a larger workload.

The second issue is the workload itself surrounding emergency response software and incident management. Sociologists expect crime and social unrest driven by wealth gaps to be on the rise. Putting politics aside, wealth gaps have historically created social pressures towards redistribution of resources, and these types of pressures have led to crime and violence across geographies. Certain segments of the workforce being replaced by machines, rising levels of debt, and high inflation will create additional conflict, and the above will translate into more 911 calls hitting thinly stretched public safety agencies.

A third point is budgets for emergency response platform clients. While there is no indication that public safety budgets will shrink (the opposite is true), government agencies should be prepared for the option of a long-term reversal. One reason for this is rising government debt, which accelerated during COVID to unprecedented levels. In recent months we’ve heard the Fed talk about the need to reduce its balance sheet, which can be done by decreasing government spending. The first piece of good news is that public safety by nature will always be considered a necessity and will only be affected only after all other options have been exhausted. The second is that cloud native deployments can actually reduce spend on public safety solutions by up to 75% in the long run via lower costs of delivery and and zero to no implementation costs (you can put a ping pong table in the server room).

The fourth point is the growing opportunity created by technology (light at the end of the tunnel was promised). Historically, military technologies, such as GPS, were first used by governments and only then adopted by the business sector. The trend is reversed in public safety as technologies developed by businesses for customers made their way backwards. The 12-year-old facetiming his mom is expecting to do the same with 911, and his mom who knows the uber is arriving in 4 minutes expects the same type of communication if she were to call for help. After many years of NG911 being a futuristic prospect, these technologies are now available at a lower cost and higher levels of reliability than ever before via cloud native deployments.

To summarize the points above, PSAPs need to prepare to do more work – with less people. This may sound worrisome, but I truly believe this challenge can be overcome with technology, and specifically via cloud native applications.  Take incident management software for emergencies and events for instance. These applications are already more reliable than their legacy predecessors (e.g., you can take calls remotely if the power goes down), they increase efficiency as they are more advanced by nature (e.g., you automatically know the location of the caller), and they are cost effective in the long run. Moreover, cool, for the lack of a better word, technologies will make your call takers happier as they spend the day working on a beautiful interface, seamlessly collaborating with other agencies, and knowing that they are giving the citizens they serve the best service by leveraging the greatest technologies on the market.

Whether you are a caller experiencing an emergency, a call-taker, dispatcher, police officer, firefighter, or paramedic, Carbyne is committed to providing you a public safety software platform that is ready for the future, because every person counts. To schedule a free Carbyne demo, please visit https://carbyne.com/wtt.

Carbyne (Headquartered in New York, NY) is a leading global provider of cloud-native mission-critical contact center solutions. Carbyne is one of the largest rich-data providers for emergency response centers, delivering over 250M data points per year all in a unified platform. Our technologies enable emergency contact centers and select enterprises to connect with callers as well as connected devices via highly secure communication channels without needing to download a consumer app. With a mission to redefine emergency collaboration and connect the dots between people, enterprises and governments, Carbyne provides a unified cloud native solution that provides live actionable data that can lead to more efficient and transparent operations and ultimately save lives. With Carbyne, Every Person Counts.