Tele-Communication Systems, a company engaged in highly reliable and secure mobile communications technology and the University of Maryland today announced that the company has launched a beta test of SMS 9-1-1 technology in the College Park campus.

The test, which will last for three months, will examine the viability of sending emergency messages to the campus Public Safety Answering Point call center via an SMS text message sent through a mobile device.

The University of Maryland is the first college emergency communications center in the United States to test “text-to-police” using any mobile device capable of text messaging to a live call taker at the PSAP.

The TCS SMS 9-1-1 technology is designed to allow persons who are hearing impaired and those who are unable to place a voice emergency call with the ability to communicate their situation rapidly and accurately to a PSAP via a text message.

This, in turn, would allow the PSAP to send the appropriate responders to the correct location faster, because the solution automatically determines the caller’s location as opposed to other techniques that require the sender to enter the location.

The test will be conducted utilizing University of Maryland Department of Public Safety personnel, who will send various test emergency text messages that will be received by university police operators. The operator will receive both the caller’s location and text utilizing the TCS SMS 9-1-1 PSAP graphical user interface (GUI). Then, campus emergency responders will receive a test notification.

The University of Maryland is an institution that is committed to the safety and well-being of its students, faculty, staff and guests, so it’s a natural fit for the University of Maryland to test this major advancement in emergency communications on its own campus.” – ?Jay Whitehurst Senior Vice President Commercial Software Group TCS

This technology will allow campus emergencies to be communicated to university authorities in one of the most common methods now being used by students to communicate to each other: texting,” he added.

TCS is a leader in SMS text, as well as E9-1-1 connectivity technology; the company handles approximately one-third of all text messages in the U.S., and it successfully routed the first-ever wireless E9-1-1 call over a decade ago. Since then, TCS has deployed wireless and VoIP E9-1-1 service to operators nationwide. Today, TCS delivers about half of all U.S. wireless E9-1-1 calls — more than 140,000 emergency calls daily.

The University of Maryland takes the safety of our community very seriously, and being able to test the latest in emergency communications technology offered by TCS is something we definitely wanted to be a part of.“- ?David Mitchell, director/chief of police University of Maryland Department of Public Safety

The University of Maryland Police is participating in this trial to provide valuable experience necessary to develop SMS 9-1-1 PSAP call taker requirements with TCS. This trial will also help optimize the service to meet end user needs.