What is i3 Compliance and Why is it Important for Public Safety?

Posted in All, NGA911 on Mar 04, 2024

First responders are just that, the first 9-1-1 professionals to respond to an emergency. As such, it’s imperative they have the right tools and technology to best serve the public. One of the most significant innovations in public safety is Next Generation 911 (NG9-1-1).


This emergency telecommunication system is designed to provide 911 call centers and personnel with the latest technological advancements, allowing for greater accuracy, shorter response times, and more effective emergency response. However, with the Next Generation 911 infrastructure comes its own set of standards and protocols that public safety professionals must follow to run effectively.


In this blog from NGA, we’ll discuss what i3 compliance is and why it’s essential for public safety.


Table of Contents:


  1. What is i3 Compliance?
  2. Understanding Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1)
  3. The Role of i3 Compliance
  4. Why i3 Compliance is Important for Public Safety
  5. What is the i3 standard?
  6. Key Aspects of the i3 Standard:
  7. Importance of the i3 Standard:
  8. Five examples of why i3 compliance is important for public safety
  9. How to become i3 compliant in 2024
  10. Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming i3 Compliant in 2024
  11. FAQ: Understanding the i3 Standard in 2024
  12. Conclusion

What is i3 Compliance?

i3 Compliance refers to a set of standards developed for Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) systems in the United States. NG9-1-1 is an initiative aimed at updating the 9-1-1 service infrastructure to improve public emergency communication services in an increasingly digital world.

Understanding Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1)

NG9-1-1 is designed to enhance the capabilities of the existing 9-1-1 services to better handle voice, text, and multimedia communications. It moves away from the traditional voice-centric model to a more versatile system that can handle a variety of digital communication methods.

The Role of i3 Compliance

  • Standardization: i3 compliance ensures that systems and technologies used in NG9-1-1 are standardized. This means they follow a uniform set of protocols and standards, making it easier for different systems and jurisdictions to communicate and interoperate seamlessly.
  • Interoperability: One of the key aspects of i3 compliance is interoperability. It allows different emergency response systems to work together, facilitating a quicker and more efficient response. This is crucial in emergencies where multiple agencies need to coordinate.
  • Upgrading Technology: i3 compliance guides the transition from older, legacy 9-1-1 systems to more modern, internet-based systems. This includes the ability to handle a wider range of communication types, like texts, videos, and images.
  • Enhanced Accessibility: By accommodating various communication methods, NG9-1-1 systems make emergency services more accessible to people with disabilities and those who might be unable to make voice calls during certain emergencies.
  • Public Safety and Response: Ultimately, i3-compliant systems aim to improve public safety. They can enhance the speed and accuracy of emergency responses, potentially saving lives and reducing the severity of incidents.

Why i3 Compliance is Important for Public Safety

  • Faster and More Accurate Response: Enhanced data capabilities mean quicker dispatch and more informed first responders.
  • Wider Accessibility: Ensures all members of the community, including those with disabilities, have access to emergency services.
  • Future-Proofing: Prepares emergency services for evolving digital communication trends.
  • National and Regional Coordination: Facilitates better coordination during large-scale emergencies that cross jurisdictional boundaries.


i3 compliance is critical for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of public emergency services, making it a vital component in the ongoing evolution of public safety infrastructure.

What is the i3 standard?

The i3 standard refers to a set of specifications designed for Next Generation 911 (NG911) systems in the United States. These standards are developed by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). The i3 standard is a critical component of the NG911 initiative, aiming to modernize and improve the infrastructure of emergency services communication. Here's a detailed overview:

Key Aspects of the i3 Standard:

  • Digital Technology Integration: The i3 standard facilitates the transition from traditional, analog 911 systems to digital networks. This includes the use of Internet Protocol (IP)-based technology for more efficient and versatile communication.
  • Multimedia Communication Support: Unlike the traditional 911 systems, which are primarily voice-based, the i3 standard enables emergency communication centers to receive and process a variety of data types including text, images, video, and even data from emerging technologies like telematics and IoT devices.
  • Location Accuracy and Routing Improvements: Enhanced location services are a critical part of the i3 standard. It allows for more precise location tracking and routing of emergency calls to the appropriate dispatch center, improving response times and accuracy.
  • Interoperability and Flexibility: The standard ensures that systems from different vendors and regions can work together seamlessly. This interoperability is vital for efficient communication across different jurisdictions and agencies during emergencies.
  • Scalability and Future-Proofing: The i3 standard is designed to be scalable and adaptable to future technological advancements. This ensures that the emergency response system remains effective and relevant as communication technologies evolve.
  • Security and Reliability: Given the sensitive nature of emergency communications, the i3 standard encompasses robust security protocols to protect data privacy and integrity. It also focuses on creating reliable systems that remain operational in a variety of scenarios, including natural disasters.

Importance of the i3 Standard:

  • Public Safety Enhancement: By enabling a more efficient and versatile emergency response system, the i3 standard significantly contributes to public safety.
  • Accessibility Improvements: It broadens access to emergency services for individuals with disabilities and those in situations where traditional voice calls are not feasible.
  • Coordination in Large-scale Emergencies: The standard's emphasis on interoperability is crucial for coordinated responses in large-scale emergencies that involve multiple agencies and jurisdictions.


The i3 standard is pivotal in transforming emergency communications, making it more aligned with the technological advancements and communication patterns of the modern world. This enhances overall public safety and emergency response effectiveness.

Five examples of why i3 compliance is important for public safety

Here are five examples illustrating why i3 compliance is important for public safety:

  1. Enhanced Communication Modes: With i3 compliance, emergency services can handle not just voice calls but also text messages, videos, and photos. This is crucial in situations where a caller cannot speak due to a disability, danger, or a medical condition. For instance, someone hiding during a home invasion can silently text for help, or a deaf individual can communicate their emergency more effectively.
  2. Improved Location Accuracy: i3 compliant systems can more accurately pinpoint the location of a caller using advanced digital technologies. This is vital in emergencies where the caller is unable to communicate their location or is unaware of it, such as in cases of accidents in remote areas or medical emergencies where the individual is disoriented.
  3. Interoperability Between Different Agencies: i3 standards ensure that systems used by various emergency response agencies can communicate with each other seamlessly. This is important in large-scale emergencies like natural disasters, where coordination between multiple agencies (like fire, police, and medical services) is essential for effective response.
  4. Data-Rich Environment for First Responders: Responders arriving at a scene are better prepared when they have access to more information. For example, if a video of a car accident scene is available beforehand, paramedics can arrive better equipped for the specific injuries and hazards present.
  5. Future-Proofing Emergency Services: As communication technology evolves, i3 compliance ensures that emergency response systems are not left behind. This means that as new communication methods become commonplace, like advanced messaging apps or even augmented reality, emergency systems will be ready to integrate these technologies, thus continuously improving public safety services.

How to become i3 compliant in 2024

Becoming i3 compliant in 2024 involves several key steps, reflecting the advanced requirements of the Next Generation 911 (NG911) system. These steps are crucial for emergency communication centers, service providers, and relevant stakeholders to ensure a seamless and effective transition.

Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming i3 Compliant in 2024

Step 1: Understand the i3 Standard

  • Research and Education: Familiarize yourself with the latest version of the i3 standard by referring to the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) documentation and resources.
  • Attend Workshops/Seminars: Participate in industry workshops, webinars, and conferences focused on NG911 and the i3 standard.


Step 2: Conduct a Current System Evaluation

  • Assess Existing Infrastructure: Evaluate your current 911 system to identify areas that need upgrading or replacement to meet i3 standards.
  • Identify Gaps: Look for gaps in technology, personnel training, and procedural workflows.


Step 3: Develop an Implementation Plan

  • Strategic Planning: Create a detailed plan that includes technology upgrades, budget allocation, timelines, and training schedules.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Involve all relevant stakeholders, including local government, emergency services, and technology providers, in the planning process.


Step 4: Upgrade Technology and Infrastructure

  • Network Upgrades: Transition to an IP-based infrastructure that supports the i3 standard's requirements.
  • Purchase i3-Compliant Equipment: Acquire hardware and software that are compliant with the i3 specifications.


Step 5: Train Personnel

  • Comprehensive Training Programs: Implement training for 911 operators and other relevant staff on the new system's operations and protocols.
  • Continuous Education: Establish ongoing training and education to keep up with updates and changes in the standard.


Step 6: Testing and Quality Assurance

  • System Testing: Conduct thorough testing of the new system to ensure it meets all the i3 standard requirements.
  • Quality Assurance: Implement quality assurance protocols to continuously monitor the performance and compliance of the system.


Step 7: Collaborate with Telecommunication Providers

  • Partnerships: Work closely with telecom providers to ensure network reliability and compliance with the i3 standard.
  • Coordination for Data Services: Ensure that data services like location information, text-to-911, and multimedia capabilities are fully integrated and functional.


Step 8: Public Engagement and Feedback

  • Community Outreach: Inform the public about the new system and its capabilities.
  • Feedback Mechanism: Establish a feedback system to receive and incorporate public input and concerns.


Step 9: Monitor, Review, and Update

  • Regular Monitoring: Continuously monitor the system’s performance and compliance.
  • Stay Updated: Keep up-to-date with any updates to the i3 standard and make necessary adjustments.


Step 10: Regulatory Compliance and Accreditation

  • Compliance Checks: Regularly check for compliance with federal and state regulations regarding emergency communications.
  • Seek Accreditation: Consider getting accredited by relevant bodies to establish the credibility and reliability of your system.

FAQ: Understanding the i3 Standard in 2024


What are the latest enhancements to the i3 standard in 2024?

As of 2024, the i3 standard likely includes advanced interoperability features, improved location services, and integration with IoT devices and smart city infrastructures, enhancing emergency response capabilities.


How does the i3 standard integrate with smart city technologies?

The i3 standard integrates with smart city technologies by utilizing IoT devices, traffic systems, and public surveillance for real-time data sharing, thus improving emergency response efficiency and accuracy.


What challenges are faced in implementing the i3 standard nationwide, and how are they addressed?

Key challenges include funding, technological upgrades, and training. These are addressed through federal and state funding, public-private partnerships, and comprehensive training programs for emergency personnel.


How does the i3 standard ensure data privacy and security?

The i3 standard employs robust security protocols, including encryption and strict access controls, to protect sensitive data and maintain privacy in emergency communication systems.


What impact has the i3 standard had on emergency response times and outcomes?

The i3 standard has generally improved emergency response times and outcomes by enabling faster, more accurate dispatch and providing first responders with comprehensive situational information.


How are rural areas accommodated in the i3 standard rollout?

Rural areas are supported through targeted funding, partnerships with local telecom providers, and scalable solutions that address unique challenges like limited infrastructure and long distances.


What training resources are available for adapting to the i3 standard?

Training resources include online courses, workshops, and simulation-based training programs, focusing on the technical aspects of the i3 system and its practical application in emergency situations.


How does the i3 standard facilitate coordination in multi-agency responses?

The i3 standard enhances multi-agency coordination through interoperable communication systems, shared data platforms, and standardized protocols, ensuring efficient collaboration during large-scale emergencies.


What is the role of telecom providers in the implementation of the i3 standard?

Telecom providers play a crucial role by upgrading infrastructure, ensuring network reliability and compliance with the i3 standard, and collaborating with emergency services for seamless integration.


How is public feedback incorporated into the i3 standard's development?

Public feedback is incorporated through community engagement initiatives, feedback from emergency responders, and regular review processes to ensure the standard meets the evolving needs of the public and emergency services.


Becoming i3 compliant is a multifaceted process that involves technological upgrades, personnel training, and a commitment to continuous improvement. It's essential to approach this process methodically and engage with all relevant stakeholders to ensure a successful transition to an i3-compliant NG911 system.


Connect with our NGA team for more information today!