Cisco launches interoperable communications system

Attempting to address the need for interoperable communications systems when disasters strike, Cisco Systems launched its IP Interoperability and Collaboration System (IPICS) technology today.

IPICS uses IP to allow proprietary and standards-based push-to-talk radios to communicate with one another, analog phones and other IP-based devices, including cellular phones, Wi-Fi laptop computers, personal digital assistants and IP phones.

Users can deploy the technology to meet various needs. IPICS can make existing radios interoperable, so local emergency departments don't have to replace them, according to the company.

In addition to aiding in disasters such as hurricanes or terrorist attacks, the technology could be helpful in routine law enforcement operations. When a police pursuit crosses jurisdictional lines, officers can’t always communicate quickly with neighboring officers.

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 at Cisco's Public Safety and Justice division.

The company has a competitive advantage, Wright said, because "we have competitors at each of those layers, but we don't have a single competitor across all of them."

The system’s main components are server hardware and software and a management center for push-to-talk communications. The products are available now.

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