June 13, 2017
City officially begins move to an IP-based system that will be able to accept 911 messages via text, images, and more
Interim Text-to-911 to go live in early 2018
NEW YORK—The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) today announced the commencement of the NextGeneration 911 project, which will transform the City’s emergency communication system into a fully digital, state-of-the art system capable of interacting with New Yorkers through text messaging, photo and video, social media, and more. The request for proposals released today solicits vendors to assist in building the underlying technological infrastructure that can support the IP-based NextGen911 system.
While NextGen911 is in development, the City will launch a Text-to-911 service; by the first quarter of 2018, those who are unable to make a voice call to 9-1-1—the Deaf community, the hard-of-hearing and speech impaired, and crime victims unable to make a voice call—will be able to communicate with NYC’s 9-1-1 call takers for the first time ever via text.
“Our number one priority is keeping New Yorkers safe, and developing the strongest, most state-of-the-art 911 system is essential to that mission,” said First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris. “In the 21st century, that means ensuring that New Yorkers who need to communicate with 911 can do more than make a phone call—we want to give them the ability to send photos, stream video, and more. We’ve already made a number of critical enhancements to the 911 system, and today we’re proud to take the next step as we kick off NextGeneration 911 in New York City.”
“We have the nation’s largest, busiest, and most complex 911 system, which is why we need to be on the leading edge of emergency communications technology—and that’s exactly where NextGeneration 911 will take us,” said Anne Roest, Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. “Early next year, New Yorkers will be able to text 911, with much more to come down the road. Ultimately, our system will do more than give New Yorkers new ways to communicate—it will make it easier for the City to continually upgrade and improve 911 as technology evolves in the coming years, and for generations to come.”
“The ability to quickly communicate with the public on a variety of platforms is essential in keeping this City safe,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “The NextGen 911 system will do just that.”
“New Yorkers depend on the 911 system to dispatch highly trained Firefighters, Paramedics and EMTs to thousands of fires and medical emergencies throughout the city every day,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “Advancements from Next Generation 911 will continue to protect our city by providing even greater communication and sharing of information between those in need of help, and the FDNY members who bravely serve them.”
“Equity is a key part of the de Blasio administration, and providing Text-to-911 for those who are Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing and those with speech disabilities ensures equity,” said Victor Calise, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. “Text-to-911 is an initiative of AccessibleNYC and puts us closer to becoming the most Accessible City in the World.”
The launch of NextGen911 is the latest in a series of steps the de Blasio administration has taken to enhance and improve 911 service. In 2014, the Administration conducted an assessment of existing projects, many of which were suffering long delays and ballooning budgets. DoITT subsequently took over project management for many of these initiatives, getting them back on-time and on-budget. To date, the Administration has completed the construction and outfitting of Public Safety Answering Center 2 in the Bronx, and is currently conducting a “tech refresh” of Public Safety Answering Center 1 in Brooklyn.
“I’m glad to see DoITT announce the commencement of NextGen911, which will revolutionize the way New Yorkers interact with our emergency services system,” said Council Member James Vacca, Chair of the Committee on Technology. “The implementation of NextGen911 will be a giant leap forward, making emergency communications services more accessible and effective. I’m eager to see the City transform its emergency communications into a state-of-the art system fit for the digital age.”
“Today we take the next step in integrating 21st Century technology to our current emergency services system. Text-to-911 isn't a new concept, but rather it gives us an opportunity to enhance emergency services for New Yorkers most in need," said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety. “Texting has become a dominant form of communication and devising a system to provide New Yorkers the opportunity to text or send images in an emergency will expand our ability to provide real help, in real time, when it’s needed most. I thank Mayor de Blasio and DoITT Commissioner Anne Roest for their leadership and their commitment to the safety of all New Yorkers as well as my Council Colleagues Council Members Laurie Cumbo, Mark Levine, and Committee on Technology Chair Jimmy Vacca for their partnership on this important initiative.”
“In any emergency, every second counts. Today, we are one step closer to providing everyday New Yorkers with access to state-of-the-art emergency communications system that can handle voice calls and digital media sent via text messaging or social media. As chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues, I am proud that the implementation of my legislation will bolster our city’s responsiveness to dangerous situations and save more lives. The City of New York must lead by example—setting a high standard for public safety. NextGeneration 911 is a victory for everyday New Yorkers—particularly women; victims of sexual assault, intimate partner, or domestic violence, the Deaf, deaf, and mute communities; and LGBTQIA+ in need of immediate assistance, but unable to safely communicate with first responders,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.
Proposals are due August 8, 2017, with work targeted to begin in December. NextGen911 is anticipated to launch to the public in the first quarter of 2022. The request for proposals can be downloaded on DoITT's website.