UNT Research, Volume 18, 2009 Page: 24
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CALLING EMERGENCY SERVICES
TO K EEP UP WITH
sarah baba ri
DEVELOPING A TESTBED
Researchers from UNT, Columbia University
and Texas A&M University are collaborating
to develop a testbed that will enable further
research and analysis of the next generation
of 911 services.
A testbed is a platform for experimentation
used in large-scale development projects that
allows for rigorous testing of scientific theories,
computational tools and other new technologies.
The term typically refers to the integration of
several network elements, including hardware
devices and software programs.
In this case, the testbed will help research-
ers develop a strategy for tracking phone calls
made from Internet-based phones. UNT is
leading the project as the three universities
divide duties to build the testbed.
For information about Ram Dantu s work,
Next to stacks of papers and old science journals, a sleek, black video phone rests in the corner of
Ram Dantu's office. Like a growing number of phones, this one connects callers through the Internet
rather than by traditional wire lines.
"In the next five years, the way we communicate will change greatly," says Dantu, an associate
professor of computer science and engineering at the University of North Texas. "This is the phone
of the future."
That could be a problem for emergency services like 91 I, which have had trouble keeping pace
with the increasingly widespread technology. Reports of delayed responses, misdirected ambulances
and unanswered calls from Internet-based phones to 911 are on the rise.
And, like e-mail, Internet-based phones are vulnerable to spam, which could lead to waves of
unwanted phone calls and potentially dangerous service tie-ups that could prevent callers from even
getting through to emergency help.
With grants totaling more than $3 million from the National Science Foundation, Dantu is leading
an effort to overhaul the 911 infrastructure to better handle emerging technology, such as Internet-based
phones, text messages and phones with photo capabilities. He also is developing software to detect and
block spam from overloading the emergency service system and developing technologies to better alert
the public to emergency situations.
Ram Dantu is in charge of a multi-university team experimenting on the
next generation of 911 services. They will address challenges presented by
Internet-based phones and other emerging technology.
24 4 SPRING 2009 UNT RESEARCH
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University of North Texas. UNT Research, Volume 18, 2009, periodical, 2009; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115032/m1/24/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting University Relations, Communications & Marketing department for UNT.