More Data: Pocket Dialing

In response to my recent post regarding the harmful consumer practice associated with pocket dialing, I received the letter from Kelly Dutra, the Director of the Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency (WCCCA) in Beaverton, Oregon. The letter begins, “I read with interest the Business Week article ‘FCC Commissioner: Butt-Dialing is usually Taxing 9-1-1’ and let you know you might be right on target. They account for more than 30% of our wireless 9-1-1 calls. In 2005 we installed a method that all wireless calls must go through to make it to a Calltaker. The wi-fi 9-1-1 caller must speak or press any key for the program to recognize it as an actual contact to be passed through. ”

Ms. Dutra continued, “I have got attached a separate sheet showing figures from 2012 to current. I’ve also been studying the number of butt calls that make it through the system we simply began including in our weekly, monthly, and annual reports. The device we now have in place blocks on average 30% yet another 15-20% of the calls that make it through the system are still butt calls with enough noise in the history for the system to treat it as an active call. ”

The letter and accompanying information charts from WCCCA, provided below, confirm my overall concern regarding pocket dialing. First, as can be seen from the line graph, the range of the problem is fairly consistent with our rough estimates. WCCCA reports that approximately 50% or more of day-to-day wireless calls to 911 are usually pocket dials that are either obstructed or reach Calltakers. Second, despite having the technological screen employed by WCCCA, a significant number of pocket dials continue to be able to get through, wasting the time plus effort of public safety officials. Lastly, the problem with pocket calling has been fairly consistent over the last period of time, meaning it is not fading as new-technology and phones enter the marketplace.

I thank WCCCA designed for providing me with these useful plus important data points and wish other call centers will provide more information regarding their experiences with pocket dialing.

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