Cisco introduces emergency communications suite

Cisco introduces a suite of IP-based communications services for emergency response agencies.

Cisco Systems has launched a suite of mobile services tied together and designed to help emergency response agencies communicate using voice, video and radio.

Cisco's Solutions with Advanced Technologies, or SWAT, program is designed to integrate all types of emergency communications, including 911 emergency dialing, radio interoperability, satellite, wireless, weather alerts and video, Cisco said. Cisco introduced SWAT Monday at a conference for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) in Orlando.

The Internet Protocol-based suite includes the Cisco Instant and Mobile Integrated Communications Solution (IMICS), a package of products that allows police, fire or other emergency response agencies to quickly deploy communications such as secure VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol), Web connectivity and wireless hotspot capabilities. IMICS is designed for use in emergencies, such as hurricanes, that knock out traditional network connectivity, said Morgan Wright, Cisco's global solutions manager for justice and public safety.

SWAT also offers up-to-date, neighborhood-specific weather information through a Cisco partnership with AWS Convergence Technologies Inc., which operates the WeatherBug monitoring service. The SWAT program, available immediately, also offers a mobile video kit for video surveillance and conferencing, and a field-deployable 911 service, Cisco said.

The suite will help emergency response agencies move to an IP-standards-based communications platform, Wright said. In many cases, emergency response agencies use different technology for different types of communication.

In recent years, emergency response agencies have worked on operating with other police and fire departments because of communication problems highlighted in the Sept. 11. 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S. But in many cases, individual agencies don't communicate that well internally, said Wright, a former police officer.

"You can't have interoperability until you have operability," he said. "We have operability through a common platform."

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