Avaya Holdings Corp. has announced that Portugal’s emergency services have adopted its suite of communication solutions to transform their existing systems in preparation for eCall, the next-generation automated vehicle aid system.
A life-saving innovation that is mandatory in all new passenger-vehicle types approved for sale in the European Union, eCall allows telemetry data to be sent from a vehicle to emergency services when an accident occurs, providing accurate incident location and other vital information that dispatchers can use to send help much faster and more effectively to help save lives. With 25,670 fatalities in 2016 and over 135,000 serious injuries on EU roads and motorways in 2014, according to the European Transport Safety Council’s Road Safety Performance Index, eCall is estimated to reduce emergency response time by 40% in built-up areas and 50% in the countryside, saving as many as 2,500 lives and over €130 billion in costs to society each year.
As a result, emergency services across Portugal have been running tests to demonstrate readiness to receive and respond to these new automated calls. As the global market leader in contact centre solutions, Avaya was selected because of its ecosystem and open platform structure, enabling integration across a variety of different systems. The solutions deployed include: the creation of a new centre in Porto to increase resiliency and geographic redundancy; a complete refresh of the existing emergency service data centre in Lisbon; and an upgrade of the existing communication environment, including a subsequent integration into its dispatching application.
Markus Bornheim, Consulting Sales Engineer for Public Safety and Emergency Services at Avaya, and Vice Chair of the European Emergency Number Association (EENA) Technical Committee, said:
“Emergency Services communications require intricate coordination between a number of different channels, from voice calls, to calls from mobiles and now to eCall. It’s important to deliver a solution that can accommodate both present and future needs without putting undue pressure on those working in call centres or on the front line. Avaya’s eCall solution was designed to integrate with existing systems and provide a clear platform for further development. We are pleased to see our work achieve a strong result for Portugal, and look forward to extending this further elsewhere in Europe.”
Implementation of these solutions was carried out by Avaya’s local integration partner PAPTI/DECUNIFY, which worked with core tech provider Oecon and software developer Engelbart Software to adapt and modify the existing application development platform and allow integration with Portugal’s emergency services. As a result, Portugal’s 112 services can now receive, interpret and respond to messages sent through eCall; as well as integrate other eCall-associated technologies and similar third-party services for motorcycles, heavy goods vehicles, car manufacturers, assistance companies and automobile clubs. With Avaya’s support, solutions and architecture, Portugal achieved full preparation for the onset of eCall, in advance of the EU conformity assessment.
Colonel Vitor Judicibus, Head of the Critical Communications Multidisciplinary Team at the General Secretariat of Internal Administration (Secretaria-geral da Administração Interna), said: “eCall is a major milestone for the European automotive and safety communities, with next-generation technology being widely deployed to help people and save lives. Providing Portugal’s dispatchers and emergency services call centre workers with the tools they need to incorporate eCall is essential to achieving the aims of this initiative. We are pleased that the Portuguese 112 service has been upgraded to fully respond to eCall, while also becoming faster, more reliable and future-fit.”
Francisco Gomes, Deputy Secretary General for Technologies of the Ministry of Home Affairs (Secretaria-geral da Administração Interna), said: “According to Nikola Tesla, ‘Science is but a perversion of itself unless it has as its ultimate goal the betterment of humanity.’ I think the same about technology and eCall is one of the best recent examples of a major improvement in Europe for emergency reaction. The overall purpose of being more efficient on preserving human life after traffic accidents will progress immensely with the introduction of eCall. Our Ministry tech teams and our partners together, made possible for Portugal to be fully ready to do the best in emergency situations.”