CAD Interoperability Assessment Project
Nearly every Emergency Communications Center (ECC)/Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) in the U.S. uses a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system to dispatch 911 calls and to facilitate records management. Very few, if any, CAD system components are uniform across vendors.
This situation creates a significant barrier to transferring emergency calls and associated data—such as caller location information—an essential function required for the 911 community to transition to Next Generation 911 (NG911) functionality. It also creates a significant challenge for transferring call information to first responders in the field via public safety broadband networks such as the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) being implemented by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), which is needed to enhance responder safety and situational awareness.
To realize the benefits of a nationally interconnected, seamless system of systems, the disparate nature of CAD systems must be understood and solutions developed for the 911 community. The contract for the CAD Interoperability Assessment Project was awarded in October 2021. This nationwide assessment of the current status of CAD systems and the resulting initial report, released in July 2022, summarize the current status of CAD and the challenges associated with establishing an interoperable 911 CAD data-sharing capability nationwide.
The project will next investigate other topics, resulting in a strategic plan to address gaps. In specific, future reports will explore:
Relevant technologies and technological issues
The governance, administrative and technological issues that all entities—including standards-development organizations, private-sector companies, and national CAD organizations—must address
The resources, budget and partner agencies needed and ideas for how to use them
Requirements and metrics that identify the value and accuracy of 911 CAD data
What's Happening Now
The report, Current Status of Computer-Aided Dispatch Interoperability, was released in July 2022. This analysis is the product of symposia with both PSAP stakeholders and with industry representatives conducted in early 2022. Though each group identified different challenges to achieving seamless interoperability, the two aligned on the following as primary obstacles to data-sharing:
PSAP leadership and the slow decision-making progress
Lack of standards and standards enforcement
Lack of federal or state oversight to enforce standards
Unwillingness of some agencies to share data
Workflow expectations among agencies
Politics and jurisdictions not getting along
Disparate CAD systems with disparate levels of functionality
The report includes additional information from the symposia, including the consequences of the inability to share data across jurisdictions and the benefits of CAD interoperability; the need for national standards and common terminology; GIS; governance; and other topics.
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