Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International Taps IBM Watson Capabilities to Evaluate and Report on Emergency Calls

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The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today that APCO International’s new guide card software called APCO IntelliCommä will use IBM Watson Speech-to-Text and Watson Analytics to significantly enhance the scripted criteria guidance used by 9-1-1 emergency telecommunicators nationwide. 

APCO International is the world’s oldest and largest organization of public safety communications professionals with over 29,000 members. Its criteria-based guide card system provides telecommunicators responsible for dispatching emergency services with access to precise information for specific emergency call types. It helps ensure that telecommunicators provide rapid and customized instructions so callers get the fast, consistent, and appropriate information they need and expect in an emergency.

Although national standards require that a certain percentage of these calls be evaluated, that percentage is small. Watson Analytics will enable PSAPs to far exceed those professional standards on quality assurance case reviews through a dynamic and cognitive process.

By November 2017, APCO will fully integrate selected Watson capabilities, all on the IBM Cloud, into its new IntelliComm™ software that will be deployed to five selected PSAPs for initial system acceptance. In developing and delivering this solution for APCO, IBM Global Business Services (GBS) is teaming with Essextec's Cognitive Innovations group, a Platinum IBM Business Partner and winner of the IBM 2016 Worldwide Watson Innovative Business Partner of the Year Award.

APCO IntelliCommä will use Watson Speech-to-Text and other IBM Watson and machine learning capabilities to understand the actual context of the emergency calls. This information will be aggregated and then using IBM Watson Analytics, agency directors can more readily analyze the conversations and compare them to pre-scripted content. The resulting feedback will be provided in an easy to read format to agency and call center directors in near real-time so they may modify training or response communications materials accordingly.

“This augmented call taking and reporting will better inform directors on how the actual conversations between callers and telecommunicators unfold which may allow agencies to iteratively modify training materials to better meet callers’ needs,” says IBM GBS Public Safety Practice Leader for the U.S., Bill Josko. “And since Watson is able to understand and learn more context overtime through machine learning, it can also help to reduce call times, provide accurate triage information, and help expedite time sensitive emergency services.”

“APCO IntelliComm™ supported by IBM Watson Analytics is a game-changer for our profession,” says Derek K. Poarch, APCO’s Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. “Its extensive capabilities and unique analytic features will enable public safety communications professionals to improve response times and the quality of care on the scene while enhancing post-action data that's key to continuous improvement back at the PSAP. The ultimate result saves lives.”

About IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing
Watson represents a new era in computing called cognitive computing, where systems understand the world in a way more similar to humans: through senses, learning, and experience. Watson continuously learns from previous interactions, gaining in value and knowledge over time. With the help of Watson, organizations are harnessing the power of cognitive computing to transform industries, help professionals do their jobs better, and solve important challenges.

As part of IBM’s strategy to accelerate the growth of cognitive computing, Watson is open to the world, allowing a growing community of developers, students, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts to easily tap into the most advanced and diverse cognitive computing platform available today. Watson solutions are being built, used and deployed in more than 45 countries and across 20 different industries.

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About IBM Global Business Services

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About APCO International
APCO International is the world’s oldest and largest organization of public safety communications professionals and supports the largest U.S. membership base of any public safety association. It serves the needs of public safety communications practitioners worldwide - and the welfare of the general public as a whole.

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