Multiagency projects: Get cooperation, then 'ride them'

Washington's state's radio over IP project put a premium on project management

Washington state’s Emergency Management Division is establishing a radio-over-IP network to bridge the state’s radio systems into an interoperable network for emergency responders.

“This is a multiple-agency project,” said EMD Telecommunications Manager Don Miller. That means he must cooperate with many federal, state and local agencies, each with its own budget and priorities, to get the system in place.

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Why the march to interoperable radios is so slow

This is being done through a state interoperability agency with representatives from the agencies involved. The task is eased somewhat because the system being implemented is a software suite, WAVE communications from Twisted Pair Solutions. It uses existing infrastructure to bridge radio, telephone and computer communications through an IP network. This minimizes the amount of hardware to be procured and installed, although the proper hardware must be in place to bring the system online.

“If you’re going to do a project that involves all of these agencies, you have to assign duties and clearly define responsibilities and timelines,” Miller said. “Then you have to ride them; they all have other responsibilities. It’s standard project management.”

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


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