The most important call (Reader Forum)
Google just announced the ability to make telephone calls from its Google Home speaker. At first, calling will be limited to outbound calls. Amazon was first to bring outbound and inbound calling capability to its Echo speaker device.
The most important outbound call you can make from any device is to 9-1-1. In order to optimize the value of the call for emergency services, the receiving network requires a few pieces of data, including a dialable number that the 9-1-1 call taker can call back, and a location of the device making the call. The location is used to determine the geographically appropriate 9-1-1 call center and then to route first responders to the right place.
Meeting these criteria is a constant challenge for Voice over IP (VoIP) users. While moving to a VoIP based system can reduce the maintenance and upkeep costs through eliminating back office Move/Add/Change activities, it also tends to break the static relationship between a telephone and a location. New technologies that allow multiple form factors like tablets, laptops, and now personal assistant speakers to be a telephone increase the scale of the issue. Think about what happens on a 9-1-1 call when you move your Echo or Home from one house to another. Will your 9-1-1 call go to the right place? Will the call taker know where you are?
Luckily, there are solutions in the marketplace. Everything from a pop-up window that directs the user to enter their location to automated systems that equate an enterprise Wi-Fi access point to a location, which can include floor and room.
The lesson today is to make sure you know who you can and can’t call from your device. And once you know, tell everyone that will use it too.
So, what about Google Home and Amazon Echo? Neither one supports calling 9-1-1 yet. Yet.