Quality Recording Solutions (QRS) has been servicing the voice and data recording markets since 2000, providing solutions to the Public Safety, financial institutions, hospitals and government organizations. A big part of their business is the E911 Call Center market.
E911 Call Centers are also called PSAPs for Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). These centers are responsible for answering calls to emergency telephone numbers for police, firefighting and ambulance services. PSAPs operate 24X7, dispatching emergency services or passing 911 calls on to public or private safety agencies providing emergency responses.
PSAPs are part of a large inter-connected network of Call Centers. Counties or larger Cities handle E911 services for the smaller Towns and Municipalities. In the USA, there are 3000+ counties and parishes and the E911 network includes 6100 primary and secondary PSAPs.
PSAPs are mandated to operate call recording systems for liability and forensic purposes. Those recordings are made available to wide range of State and local government agencies. Recording systems have been in use for many, many years. But, the trend has been to migrate away from central servers with integrated audio acquisition boards to virtualized network and cloud based recorders. These new virtualized recording systems rely on external “tapping” voice gateways to acquire local and remote audio streams.
Recently, QRS was asked to deliver a call recording system to the city of Mobile, Alabama. The City of Mobile has agreements with surrounding towns to deliver PSAP services. These “client” Police Departments now have to participate in call recording deployed by the PSAP. Each Police Department can have a variety of communications equipment including traditional analog telephony and radio systems.
In order to deliver the solution, including connectivity to these client systems, QRS is using a Patton SmartNode, which includes special configurations to enable connectivity to modern E911, VoIP/SIP based virtualized recording solution. In this case, the Patton FXO gateway passively taps local interfaces from these client Police Departments and converts the dispatch traffic to VoIP/SIP and forwards the audio of the dialogs to a virtualized call recorder.
Patton adapted its SmartNode to enable Analog Line Tapping and Voice Activity Detection. The SmartNode is connected passively, in a tap configuration, and monitor the POTS interfaces. The SmartNode is able to detect when a dispatcher answers or hangs up the phone. During the call, the SmartNode bridges the audio line, not interfering at all with the call, but opening a SIP connection and forwarding the audio stream over IP to the central call recorder. The function is sometimes referred to as “voltage detection” since it determines the on-hook / off-hook state of the POTS line by measuring the tip and ring voltage.
A central call recorder timestamps all the SIP RTP traffic as it receives the tapped audio streams from the SmartNode. This enables users to gain time-line views of all of the audio transactions that occur during an incident. Dozens or more channels of audio can be arranged on one timeline related to a single incident. Each of these channels represents the various dispatchers, fire trucks, police cars, remote offices and radio repeaters. Using the virtualized recording solution, empowered by Patton SmartNodes, these communications are recorded from multiple, even overlapping points in a network. Redundancy in the recording network configuration is intentional, because a forensic investigator wants to know if a conversation relayed by a radio repeater actually arrived at the dispatcher’s workstation. The QRS solution means that both points are tapped and forwarded to the recorder, so an investigator can see the communications from multiple perspectives.