News : HeyWire Business Announces Compliance with the FCC's Rule
Cambridge, MA, Oct. 29, 2014 -- HeyWire Business, an enterprise mobile messaging cloud service, announces that it is implementing text-to-911 capabilities for its Business Messenger app to comply with the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) deadline of December 31, 2014 for mobile network operators and IP mobile messaging service providers – or what the agency refers to as "Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS)" and "interconnected messaging providers" – to support text-to-911 on their networks.
Operating on any iOS, Android or Windows Phone smartphone or tablet that has a cellular connection, the Business Messenger app enables users to send and receive texts from their office phone numbers, providing a true "one number" business identity for voice and text. Similar to how people use different business and personal email accounts, Business Messenger provides separation between business and personal texts and will be the first business text messaging service to support text-to-911 on its network for subscribers.
In August, the FCC announced that all CMRS and interconnected messaging providers must support text-to-911 capabilities on their networks by the end of 2014. Text-to-911 requires support at both ends of the connection – the CMRS or interconnected messaging providers for users to send a text from their mobile devices, as well as the ability to receive those text messages at the local 911 call centers, also known as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). Currently, there are a limited number of 911 call centers serving portions of 16 states and all of Vermont and Maine that accept text-to-911, but availability is expanding. If a user tries to send a text-to-911 message in an area where the 911 call center does not accept it yet, they will receive an automatic bounce-back message informing them to call 911.
"As texting becomes integral to business communications, our support of text-to-911 is an important step to help ensure public safety as user habits and expectations evolve in our increasingly mobile-first society," said Gene Lew, CTO of HeyWire Business. "Our cloud-based architecture was designed with flexibility so we could add features like text-to-911 quickly and roll them out to all our subscribers, eliminating the challenges faced by messaging providers with device-centric architectures that limit their abilities to adapt."
Even as text-to-911 becomes more widely supported by 911 call centers, the FCC advises users to always contact 911 by making a voice call, if possible. Text-to-911 is viewed as a complementary emergency communications option that can be a lifesaving alternative in a number of situations, including when a person who is deaf, hard of hearing or has a speech disability is unable to make a voice call, in locations where voice networks are congested, or when a 911 voice call could endanger the caller.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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