Surge in Interest for RTT in Emergency Calls

Real-time Text (RTT) is essential for the Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard-of-Hearing to be able to make emergency calls. Yet many emergency service centers and service providers still lack support for the technology. However, more and more people are now becoming aware of RTT and how the technology can be used, primarily in emergency situations.

RTT and the potential that the technology has for the Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard-of-Hearing for making emergency calls, were high on the agenda at the EENA (European Emergency Number Association) 2021 Conference in Riga. A widespread problem Europe and North America is that the function is not more available. Some of the major reasons that the development has not progressed further include a lack of legislation setting out demands, and a lack of awareness of the problem on the part of decision makers at authorities and service providers. While today’s legacy 112/911 system is analogue, the next generation’s emergency network (known as NG112/911) is digital. This means that other types of calls, such as text and video, can more easily be integrated into the call flow.

”Both the authorities and emergency call service centers acknowledge the importance of RTT calls and of availability for all. During our attendance at the EENA Conference, we experienced a substantial interest for implementing RTT in emergency calls, which is of course positive”, says Thor Nielsen, VP, Global Sales at nWise.

In order to meet these demands for availability, RTT can be implemented in different ways. One possibility is to implement a gateway to an analogue system, and another is to integrate RTT into NG112/NG911 backbone, supported by an RTT Conference Bridge. According to Thor Nielsen, the increasing awareness of the need for RTT is a step in the right direction towards an established text standard, whereby everyone has the same opportunities to make an emergency call.

There is however a risk that authorities and suppliers adopt text functions that don’t meet the accepted standard, i.e. real-time text in accordance with RFC 9071 (replacing RFC 4103). In today’s society, mobility and roaming are a must in order for everyone to be included and be able to make emergency calls when necessary.

”It’s important that we follow the RTT standard and thereby make it possible for Deaf and DeafBlind people to make emergency calls, regardless of where they are in the world. The solution to this is MMX RTT Bridge and MMX RTT Gateway”, says Thor. “We’re looking forward to continued discussions on RTT at EENA 2022 in April in Marseille”, he concludes.

MMX RTT Bridge and MMX RTT Gateway are key components in Next Generation Core Services (NGCS) for efficiently connecting RTT calls to PSAP. They are developed to meet NENA i3 standards and NG112 requirements.