Cisco launches interoperable communications system

Cisco, attempting to address the ongoing need for interoperable communications systems when disasters strike, today launched its Internet Protocol
Interoperability and Collaboration Systems technology, or IPICS.

Essentially, IPICS uses IP to allow both proprietary and standards-based push-to-talk radios to interoperate not only with each other but also with analog phones and other IP-based wired and wireless devices including cellular phones, Wi-Fi laptops, PDAs and IP phones.

The technology, which can be deployed in various ways to meet needs, allows existing radios to be made interoperable, so local emergency departments don't face the prospect of replacing them, according to the company.

In addition to aiding in disasters such as hurricanes or terrorist attacks, the technology could be helpful in more routine law enforcement operations as well. When a police pursuit crosses jurisdictional lines, officers are not always able to communicate quickly with their counterparts in the adjoining jurisdiction.

IPICS cuts across all layers of communications: command and control, mobile incident command, and field personnel and vehicles, said Morgan Wright, global industry solutions manager in Cisco's Justice and Public Safety division.

That gives the company a competitive advantage, he said. "We have competitors at each of those layers, but we don't have a single competitor across all of them," he said.

The key components of IPICS are server hardware and software, and a management center for push-to-talk communications. The products are available now.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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