Michigan to unveil alerting technology

During the next few months, emergency managers from the Michigan State Police will unveil a software platform that allows them to send alert notifications to state agencies and provide communications interoperability with local first responders.

The state police awarded a $410,000 contract to Codespear, which has developed technology that can connect to any electronic device or network. Along with its software, the company provides small radio interface units that can bridge different radio systems and other devices. The technology allows users to recognize one another on the system and can send voice or text-based alerts via personal digital assistants or provide encrypted communications among first responders.

Glen Seaman, a vice president at the Birmingham, Mich.-based company, said state police will use the technology to send alert notifications within its ranks, to emergency responders at 20 state agencies, and to its cities and counties. It will also be used for regional interoperability and information sharing among agencies.

In 2005, the company deployed a similar system in Wayne County. With the Michigan police system, Seaman said, it won’t cost local governments any money to interact with troopers. But if local officials want to provide alerts and communications interoperability within their communities then they could purchase a separate license.

“We are trying to become a de facto standard for interoperability and alerting in the state,” he said.

The state will also use the technology with incident command system software purchased from E Team two years ago. Seaman said E Team’s product uses e-mails and chat technology that is not so secure, but Codespear will integrate its technology into the E Team system to provide secure voice over IP and text messaging.

The cost of the contract includes purchase of software, education and maintenance.

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