Emergency services for Webex Calling

With Webex Calling, there are two ways you can set up and manage your emergency services for users.

Telephone-number-based emergency service (or Emergency callback number)—This option is best for organizations where devices are in fixed location and with a stationary workforce. In order to meet the regulatory needs of Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’S Act, you can specify a user’s Emergency Callback Number (ECBN). That way, when a user makes an emergency call, their ECBN is presented to the telephone provider. The Public Safety Answer Point (PSAP), which is where emergency calls are routed, responds and then the call is mapped to the assigned Emergency Service Address (ESA). The ESA is the address the PSAP receives indicating the location of the emergency caller. This is designed to work when 911 calls are placed by users in the US and Canada.

Enhanced emergency (E911) service—This option, which is outlined in this article, is a dynamic emergency service designed for organizations with a hybrid or nomadic workforce. For an organization with hybrid workforce, users work both on-premises (in defined office buildings) or off-premises (remote work locations). When configured correctly by an administrator, this service can automatically detect location of a non-fixed devices (devices that can be moved to different locations without informing the administrator about the move) and Webex App when the user moves to a different location on-premises. This service also supports the Nomadic E911 service.

Nomadic E911 Service—RAY BAUM’S Act Phase 2 begins in January 2022, and this requires emergency calls to send a correct dispatch address for non-fixed devices and for nomadic users (for example, a Webex App user who take their app off-premises). This E911 service provides the configurations and settings to meet the regulatory requirements, when configured according the legal needs. When a nomadic user takes the Webex App to an off-premises location it prompts the user to input the dispatch address. Webex Calling uses this dispatch address in the event the user places a 911 call from that location. The Webex App detects network changes and prompts the user to input an address only when the user connects from a different off-premises network. When the user connects to an off-premises network for which they have already provided an address, Webex App automatically uses the address provided earlier for that network.

Proper configuration of Enhanced Emergency Calling will allow you to meet Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s requirements for emergency calls. The nomadic E911 service in Webex App detects network changes and dynamically prompts end-users to input the address when the user is off-premises.

The following steps will allow you to gather the required information to set this service up successfully:

  • Get your own RedSky account

  • Configure Building and Locations

  • Configure Network Wire map

  • Set up Alerts

Before you proceed to the next area, make sure you have configured all the above steps and provided accurate information. For detailed information on configuring the above settings refer to Administration Guide.


Please understand that incorrect configurations can lead to sending an incorrect dispatch address or no dispatch address for emergency calls. If a nomadic 911 (off-premises) end-user does not provide the emergency address when prompted in Webex App or if you fail to configure the settings in the RedSky admin portal, emergency calls will be routed to a relay center that has additional charges.

In Control Hub:

  • Update Service Settings

  • Enable Emergency Calls in all your U.S. locations

  • Test Emergency Service address by dialing 933 from each of these locations

Webex Calling customers with users in the US are entitled to get an account. To request an account, you will need to contact your partner to begin the process. Partners need to go through a one-time onboarding call with RedSky in order to understand this solution. Partners or Customers can request an account. To create an account you will need the following information. prepared to answer questions as follows:

  • Customer Name

  • Organizational ID

  • Administrator Email ID and Name

  • Partner Name

  • Partner Admin Email ID and Name

  • Number of Users (Approximate Number of users in the U.S)

  • Have you purchased a Dedicated Instance License?


    Account creating requests can be submitted via a Webex bot - E911Account@webex.bot where the above information can be submitted.


Note: If your partner is not onboarded, the support team will contact the partner admin and help with the onboarding process. This may take some time so please plan accordingly.

RedSky is a national E911 emergency call provider for your Webex Calling deployment that provides the ability to send the emergency call to the PSAP. This service is designed to work when 911 calls are placed by users in the US and Canada. Webex Calling users in the US are entitled to this service with their Webex Calling entitlement.

HTTP Enabled Location Delivery (HELD) is a standard for conveying location information safely to the emergency call provider. HELD capable devices such as the MPP phones, have the ability to detect network changes and use this network information to determine the new location based on the configured wire map.

The solution provides you with per-device location support (for HELD-capable MPP devices and Webex App). With per-device location support a user can have multiple phones with the same extension at different office locations and yet each device will have its own emergency service address. This solution offers a network that routes emergency calls to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) around the US, its territories, and Canada even when your PSTN provider is down.


Per-device location support applies to HELD-capable MPP devices and Webex App only. It doesn't apply to the Webex Calling app or non-HELD devices.

Control Hub provides an integration point for enterprises to connect to their RedSky account. The service is enabled on a per-location basis. When a location is fully enabled in Control Hub, emergency calls (933 for test calls and 911 for emergency calls) placed from all phones and soft clients assigned to that location in Control Hub use enhanced 911 services. RedSky provides an emergency call management portal to configure emergency settings.

RedSky's role in the solution is as follows:

  • Maintains the partner/customer provisioned database that is used to map an emergency call to a dispatchable location.

  • Based on a calling device's dispatchable location, directs emergency calls to the correct PSAP with information that allows the PSAP to determine the location where emergency personnel should be dispatched as well as the call-back number.

  • Generates optional notifications to enterprise personnel.

  • For subscriptions with enhanced licenses, bridges enterprise personnel into emergency calls placed by enterprise users and provide pop notifications.

In order to comply with Public Law 115-127, also known as Kari’s Law, any call that's made from within your organization to emergency services must generate an email notification. You can enable notifications across all locations or customize notifications for individual locations, which can be sent to location-specific security personnel. With the E911 serivce, you can get notifications to enterprise personnel through email, SMS, or a desktop application. This is configured in the RedSky admin portal.

When configuring emergency call notifications in the RedSky admin portal, you can do the following:

  • Specify multiple email addresses and SMS recipients. For example, you may want your emergency response team, security officer, and/or your main receptionist to get these notifications.

  • Bridge your internal emergency team with emergency calls placed by users and provide pop notifications from a desktop application.

  • Set up alerts when a 933 test call is placed or when a device performs a HELD request from an unknown location, providing the administrator to monitor where the users are connecting from.

Webex Calling supports the ability to detect device movement within your enterprise or organization using the manual 911 service. This provides you the ability to have different emergency callback numbers for different areas within your enterprise or organization.

E911 service supports these types of location detection:

Dynamic location detection for non-fixed devices. These are devices that move within the premises (HELD phones or MPP).

  • For HELD capable multi-platform firmware (MPP), location detection is based on network discovery. MPP devices use a protocol called HTTP Enabled Location Delivery (HELD) to report their network environment information (upstream switch, wireless access points (WAP) BSSID, IP address, or their MAC addresses) to the RedSky HELD service.

Dynamic location detection for E911 service. These are devices that go off premises.

  • For HELD+ capable Webex App on desktop and mobile platforms (tablets) that do not have a cellular connection, location detection is based on network discovery just like the HELD devices. When the Webex App determines the device is in a known location, the user's location is updated automatically. When the Webex App detects that the device moved to an unrecognized location, the Webex App prompts the user to enter a dispatchable location, which the RedSky network validates and stores in its database. When the user makes a 911 call from Webex App, this address is used as the emergency dispatch address.

Fixed device location detection. These are device that don't move.

  • Telephone Number Based Location Detection: For non-HELD capable devices, which includes mobile devices without cellular access, softphone clients, Cisco ATAs, Cisco DECT systems, and any non-Cisco customer premises equipment (CPE), location determination is based on the Caller ID asserted in the test or emergency call.

When you use the E911 service in a Webex Calling deployment, the following methods are used to determine location for different client types:

  • For HELD+ capable Webex App on desktop and mobile platforms (tablets) that do not have a cellular connection, location detection is based on network discovery just like the HELD devices. When the Webex App determines the device is in a known location, the user's location is updated automatically. When the Webex App detects that the device moved to an unrecognized location, the Webex App prompts the user to enter a dispatchable location, which the RedSky network validates and stores in its database. When the user makes a 911 call from Webex App, this address is used as the emergency dispatch address.

  • Webex App on a mobile platform with a cellular connection does not use RedSky. These mobile devices send emergency calls directly on the cellular network with the native dialer, which provides location information.

  • MPP devices supporting the HELD protocol provide network connectivity and device information in a HELD transaction. RedSky analyzes it to identify dispatchable location information based on the wiremap (network discovery information) that was provisioned in RedSky's portal.

  • Non-HELD capable endpoints are provisioned using static dispatchable location information associated with an E.164 caller ID. This phone number-based address is also used if a HELD capable MPP device's network location cannot be determined using network discovery.

See the administration documentation for more information about configuring alerts, buildings, locations and wiremaps in the RedSky admin portal. In the event that E911 service can't find a dispatchable location for a given device that places an emergency call, the call is routed to an emergency calling relay center. The relay center agent works with the caller to determine how best to route the emergency call. The Relay Center call costs are passed back to the customer if the user had not provided the emergency address in Webex App or because of incorrect configurations in RedSky administration portal by the administrator.

PSTN and E911 service enabled locations

In this scenario, emergency calls are identified and sent to the E911 service instead of the configured PSTN. This route is performed for all endpoints at the RedSky-enabled location, including hard phones and portable endpoints (such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops) for all users at the location. (An exception: cellular-based phone clients send emergency calls directly to the Public Land Mobile Network (PLMN, the mobile equivalent of the PSTN) using the phone's built in dialer).

Local gateway and E911 service enabled locations

In this scenario, emergency calls are identified and sent to the E911 service instead of the local gateway. This route is performed for all endpoints at the location enabled with this service, including nomadic endpoints for users assigned to the location.

Multinational deployment

In this scenario, Location A is not RedSky enabled—all calls (PSTN and emergency) are routed through the local gateway. Location B is RedSky enabled for US/Canada location—emergency calls are routed to RedSky.

Table 1. Requirements for integration with Webex Calling

Component

Requirement

RedSky

Webex Calling Users in the US are entitled to this service with their Webex Calling entitlement. For users in Canada, RedSky licenses are obtained through Cisco or your service partner. Administrators can access the RedSky administration portal —this step gives you access to a HELD Company ID and Secret Key.

You must prepare the following configuration in RedSky administration portal for location determination to address the following types of devices:

  • Calls from HELD devices that use wiremap information for location determination (MPP phones)

  • Calls from non-HELD devices that use Caller ID for location determination (DECT, ATA, and Room/Desk/Board devices)

This service integration supports all PSTN options: Local Gateway, Cloud Connected PSTN, and Service Provider PSTN.

For more information, see the RedSky administrative documentation.

Control Hub and Webex Calling organization

  • A Control Hub organization (paid subscription) that includes Webex Calling licenses—The HELD Company ID and Secret Key are required to activate E911 Calling; these values must be entered in the Control Hub “Company ID” and "Secret Key" fields.

  • Access to the customer view in Control Hub with a full admin account.

  • US/Canada locations can use E911 for emergency calling. International locations continue to use PSTN for emergency calling.

Control Hub and Locations

Control Hub access to activate the E911 service for each US, US territories, or Canada location as desired.

HELD-Capable Devices

For HELD-capable devices, once a location is enabled for this service. Webex Calling device management systems generate updated device configurations to enable HELD functionality. Each HELD device must be re-synced or reinitialized to pick up the new configuration. If this is not done by the administrator, the device has the capability to check for configuration updates within the next 24 hours. Until this happens, the devices do not use HELD for location services.

The phones use downloaded configuration parameters to access RedSky's Location Information Server (LIS). They receive a token that Webex Calling passes forward over the peering connection to RedSky when an enabled user dials 911 or 933.

HELD-Capable Devices:

  • Cisco 6800, 7800, and 8800 series desk phones running multiplatform firmware

  • Cisco 7832 and 8832 conference phones running multiplatform firmware

For a list of all Webex Calling devices, see Supported Devices for Webex Calling.

Non-HELD Devices

For non-HELD capable devices location determination is based on the Caller ID asserted in the test or emergency call. We recommend that these devices are not moved from one location to another without administrator approval.

Non-HELD Devices:

  • MPP 68xx Series 6825 DECT Handset

  • MPP DBS DBS-210 DECT Base

  • 19x Series ATA191, ATA192

  • Room Systems

For a list of all Webex Calling devices, see Supported Devices for Webex Calling.

Webex App

Webex App supports HELD+, like all other HELD devices, it needs an updated configuration to communicate with the RedSky location information server. Once configured, the Webex App prompts the user to enter an address when the user is in an off-premises network.

From a provisioning standpoint, this service is integrated with Webex Calling in Control Hub. However, this integration requires provisioning work in two independent portals and validation of provisioning outside of the portals entirely.

The primary linkage between the systems from a provisioning standpoint is the HELD Company ID and Secret Key from the Redksy administration portal. When your RedSky account is created, a Company ID and Secret Key, which you can then copy into your Webex Calling configuration. Webex Calling components communicate this Company ID and Secret Key on various communication protocols to RedSky (HELD requests from HELD-enabled devices that are learning a location, call signaling when callers dial 911 or 933 calls) and the Company ID and Secret Key allow this service to correlate the requests to the appropriate customer in their cloud.

The following diagram shows the overall provisioning flow for integrating this E911 service with Webex Calling. Items marked with a clock icon represent provisioning and validation steps that require more time. Mismatches in provisioning or incomplete validation can result in mishandled calls.

After you create a RedSky account and provision wiremap-based and caller-ID based information for one or more sites, you must then configure Webex Calling with information needed to deliver emergency calls to this E911 service.

Before you begin

Get the HELD Company ID and Secret Key from the RedSky administration dashboard. This value is a Globally Unique Identifier (GUID) that links your Control Hub instance directly to your RedSky organization.

1

From the customer view in https://admin.webex.com, go to Services, and then click Calling > Service Settings.

2

Scroll to Enhanced Emergency Calling, and then toggle on the service.

3

In the Company ID and Secret Key fields, enter the HELD Company ID and Secret Key.

You can find the Company ID and Secret Key in the HELD section of the RedSky portal.

What to do next

If the Enhanced Emergency Calling toggle is already active, you can always change any existing Company ID and Secret Key to another one. This feature allows you to correct the entry in case you entered an invalid value.

After you enable the service at the organization level, you can then enable it for individual locations within your organization. In Control Hub, locations are configuration containers in which user accounts are added. This differs from RedSky configuration, which tries to track a device's actual physical location. Enabling this feature for a location in Control Hub enables all the users who are a part of that location.

1

From the customer view in https://admin.webex.com, go to Services, and then click Locations from the Call card.

2

Click a location to open its overview pane, and then click Enhanced Emergency Calling.

3

Check Allow RedSky to receive network connectivity information and test calls to allow MPP phones to place calls to RedSky's emergency test number 933, and then save your changes.

This setting updates the device configuration to enable HELD functionality for all HELD compatible devices at that location. After the devices are reinitialized and pick up the new configuration they will make HELD requests to RedSky's Location Information Server (LIS) to try to determine a valid location.

This setting also routes all test calls (933) from that location to the emergency provider. At this point, emergency calls (911) are not impacted and are still routed to the PSTN provider.

After you save changes, the state for the location changes to Location Integration On.

4

Place test calls to 933 to ensure that the calls route properly before you enable full 911 routing for the location. Test calls can be placed from all endpoints assigned to the location, including HELD capable devices, soft phones, and non-HELD devices. The test call (933) connects the caller to a IVR which announces the caller ID and currently known address for that device.

5

After you confirm that test calls are routing correctly, return to the location overview pane, click RedSky, and then toggle on Route Emergency Calls to RedSky. Save your changes.

This setting ensure that not only are MPP phones getting location information from a RedSky LIS, but that actual 911 calls also route to RedSky.

After you save changes, the state for the location changes to Routing On.

  • Once reinitialized, HELD capable devices, including the Webex App, assigned to the location should be making HELD requests and receiving tokens

  • In RedSky, there is a setting called HELD/HELD+ Routing Options, If this is toggled to ON, when an emergency call is made from a HELD / HELD+ device (which did not have an address mapping from the network info), this service will see if there is a matching DID (in Locations or User) and use the corresponding address


    For Non-HELD devices, the above setting does not have any impact. For Non-HELD devices this service will always see if there is a matching DID (in Locations or User) and use the corresponding address

  • DECT and ATAs don't communicate with this service. Their calls route to emergency service provider, so RedSky administrative portal needs to be configured with a location associated with their caller ID.

  • Emergency calls from MPP devices not physically on the wiremap (their location was not discovered through HELD) are treated based on their asserted Caller ID. If there is a location associated with the TN of a E911 user or E911 location that matches the Caller ID, the call will be routed based on that.