NENA 2024: 5 (+1) Key takeaways from the biggest public safety conference of the year

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The RapidSOS team had an absolute blast at NENA 2024 in Orlando, Florida! This event is always a highlight of our year, offering invaluable opportunities to connect with the 911 community, share groundbreaking innovations, and envision the future of emergency response together.

For those who couldn’t attend or want to revisit some of the event’s key highlights, we’ve provided a breakdown of the five most important takeaways below (plus one extra 😉).

1. Texting, multimedia, and live video are coming to 911

The most important, recurring topic of conversation at this year’s NENA conference was the evolution of how people connect to 911. New technology and partnerships are enabling US citizens to reach 911 through RCS texting, multimedia, and live video streams, closely resembling their everyday communication methods. 

Of particular interest were new solutions for real-time translation and transcription of emergency calls to individuals who can’t speak or need translation during a 911 call.

2. New tech integrations are empowering public safety

Apple Emergency SOS Live Video

NENA provided the opportunity for several tech giants to announce new integrations that empower their users with these enhanced, digital means of connecting to 911. The arrival of Apple Emergency SOS Live Video, announced at NENA 2024, and Google’s Text to 911 with RCS demonstrate how technology partners are enhancing the link between 911 services and everyday devices, making emergency communication more seamless and effective.

Google Text to 911 with RCS

3. AI plays a powerful role in making first responders’ jobs easier

AI, and its transformative capability for supporting 911 telecommunicators, was obviously a frequent topic of discussion. While technology will never replace the talent, ingenuity, and professionalism of public safety personnel, it was clear throughout NENA that AI can play a powerful role in supporting life-saving work and making first responders’ jobs easier.

Some exciting public safety applications included:

  • Automatically arranging digital alerts into a single, unified view to enhance incident management
  • Parsing train manifests after a derailment to identify cars containing hazardous materials and provide handling instructions
  • Using sentiment analysis to detect emergencies and immediately dispatch the appropriate units

NENA 2024 also provided the opportunity to showcase how 911 is leveraging AI with HARMONY, the RapidSOS beta-tested AI co-pilot, to streamline emergency data processes within their current software systems.

4. Connect critical incident details to field responders

Throughout the conference sessions, panelists and thought leaders highlighted several scenarios and examples where extending the reach of critical data to field responders has enhanced their situational awareness before they even arrive at the emergency scene.

IamResponding

Standout session, “The Sudden Rise of RTCC,”  emphasized how 911 and Real-Time Crime Centers can collaborate, overlap, and share crucial emergency information to field responders as an incident develops.

5. Upgrading beyond Google Maps with locally authoritative GIS data

Comprehensive GIS data was a major focus throughout the NENA 2024 conference. By enhancing standard mapping solutions like Google Maps with locally authoritative GIS data, telecommunicators can blend accurate local details with commercial basemaps like Google Maps and Esri for a richer and more precise mapping solution. 

(+1): The 911 community knows how to work hard AND play hard!

We had an amazing time celebrating with everyone at the Havana Nights RapidSOS Community Party! Thank you to the hundreds of attendees who came out to celebrate the public safety community and dance the night away!

RapidSOS Community Party at NENA 2024

We’re already looking forward to NENA 2025, where we expect to see even more advancements and innovations in emergency response. See you next year!