Emergency-calling solutions provider Intrado this week launched a cloud service that is designed to provide public-safety answering points (PSAPs) and first-responder agencies with secure, reliable access to relevant applications while limiting upfront capital costs and ongoing maintenance expenditures.

Known as the Intrado Co-location and Transport cloud service (I-CAT), the offering enables partner companies like Tiburon and ShotSpotter to be integrated into a PSAP’s 911 system without requiring the PSAP to buy a lot of customer-premise equipment (CPE) that has to be maintained and upgraded regularly, according to Steve Lowe, Intrado’s vice president of business development.

“This provides a very secure, public-safety-grade infrastructure to our partners to deliver their products to the end PSAPs,” Lowe said. “Traditionally, a PSAP would have to go out and buy all of the back-office equipment, have a computer room, put all of the CPE. Basically, all of that back-office equipment now is being run in the I-CAT cloud.”

As a result, Tiburon can host its computer-aided-dispatch servers at a secured, redundant Intrado data center, where it can be upgraded and maintained by qualified staff, Lowe said.

“Instead of [PSAPs] having to put out a big, large capital outlay initially, they can put the infrastructure in and sell a recurring fee that is close to what somebody normally would pay for maintenance, so, it’s very cost effective to the PSAP,” Lowe said. “It’s extremely secure with redundant data-communications paths, redundant servers and geographical redundancy. It’s a new model.”

Some of the advantages of leverage a cloud environment will be especially noticeable for PSAPs that rely on the gunshot-detection services of ShotSpotter, Lowe said. Instead of PSAP personnel being tasked with determining whether a sound is actually a gunshot or a false detection of a similar-sounding noise, gunshot experts in the I-CAT can make the determination and quickly let dispatchers know whether a response is warranted.

Perhaps most importantly, the data from these hosted solutions can be correlated with live 911 calls, so call-takers and dispatchers can make informed decisions in a timely manner, Lowe said.

“So, the infrastructure also has the benefit of being integrated to the nation’s 911 infrastructure,” he said. “If a 911 call comes up in the area, it might be nice to present to the dispatcher that, in the area of this 911 call, there’s gunshot data or there’s hazard data or there’s premise data. That additional correlation of our hosted partner’s data to the 911 call is a real value add to the PSAP.”

Lowe said the I-CAT cloud will be used exclusively for public-safety applications and services, so users do not have to worry about resources being drained by commercial enterprises. I-CAT data centers feature geographic and energy diversity and SteadyLink connectivity to ensure reliability, he said.

“This is a public-safety-grade, public-safety-only cloud,” Lowe said. “This is a public-safety-only, very highly secure infrastructure that allows us to deliver public-safety products to our customer.”