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Metro Emergency Communications dispatch gets technology upgrade

By Genelle Pugmire - | Oct 18, 2023

Courtesy Provo City

This undated photo shows one of the dispatch cubicles in Provo's Metro Communications Center.

The importance of keeping the community safe, police informed and technology continually improving is the goal of the Metro Emergency Communications dispatch.

In an effort to improve public safety in Provo, Orem and Lindon, Metro Emergency Communications has incorporated next-generation 911 technology that changes how the public safety agency communicates with callers.

“Until recently, 911 and emergency response in Utah County depended almost entirely on voice conversations between callers, dispatchers and field responders,” said Heather Perkins, manager of Metro Emergency Communications. “Now we have a much bigger, more accurate picture with the technology we incorporated through Carbyne Universe.”

Carbyne technology is used in conjunction with phones and other existing infrastructure in the dispatch center.

With the addition of Carbyne, Metro Emergency Communications now has a holistic, immersive view of an incident with the collection and integration of media and data from a caller presented in a unified interface, according to Perkins. In other words locations can be identified, video shared and silent texts received through smartphones and other methods to collect important information from emergency callers in real time during an ongoing incident.

Field responders can also share vital information in real time with 911 staff through Carbyne’s Responder Connect feature. And a video board offers a comprehensive visual representation of ongoing incidents, ensuring dispatchers can precisely track and manage emergencies, according to Perkins.

Together, the technology is intended to give public safety agencies better situational awareness and allow them to more quickly and accurately assess and respond to incidents.

“Since we went live with the new system on Aug. 28, we have been able to see some of the emergency incidents in real time using the caller’s video feed and share crucial information with field responders before they arrive,” Perkins said. “In one instance, we used Carbyne video with a report of a brush fire in the foothills, confirming the size of the fire and its location to determine the appropriate fire response.”

“In another instance, using GPS, we were able to determine the information provided by a caller was not accurate and possibly prevent a false report after questioning the caller about the discrepancy,” she added. “That simply wasn’t possible with our older technology. But now we can access, analyze and share more information about every crisis that comes to us. That kind of insight and awareness will help us help many people in crisis.”

The new capabilities are especially valuable at a time when public safety agencies in Utah and nationwide are short-staffed and struggling to serve a growing number of calls with aging technology.

“We are proud to work with Metro Emergency Communications and support their commitment to innovation and improvement,” said Amir Elichai, CEO of Carbyne. “Our technology helps public safety departments perform their jobs more efficiently and effectively because we believe every person counts.”

To show the importance of this upgrade, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday will discuss technology used for people to access 911 services, especially people with disabilities. Moving beyond voice-only communications, next-generation 911 capabilities offer additional options for people who may not be in a position to make an audio call, such as victims of domestic abuse or kidnapped victims.


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