Cisco unveils IPICS for emergency services

IPICS 2.0 unveiled for interoperability between radio, IP and non-IP networks

Taking the concept of unified communications back to the old-school world where first responders and emergency service workers still use walkie-talkies and police radios, Cisco has unveiled IPICS (IP Interoperability Collaboration System) 2.0 for interoperability.

The IPICS software, embedded in routers and other parts of the network, will create a single communications platform out of radio, IP, and non-IP networks, such as landlines and mobile emergency service radio technologies.

"This is hosted in the network where IPICS becomes an intelligent platform for interoperability," the general manager of safety and securities system business at Cisco, Shmuel Shaffer, said.

The IPICS solution, embedded in the network, will work over any and all telecommunications infrastructures, including fiber and wireless, converting the various communications modalities into IP packets.

The IPICS system will also give responders Web-based resource management with the ability to add or delete devices on the network based on the scope of an incident.

While Cisco is targeting the IPICS solution at first responders in its initial launch, Shaffer said that Cisco realised IPICS also could be used in a business setting, and later versions of IPICS would target the general business market.

For example, planes waiting on the tarmac for takeoff cost airlines approximately $US500 per minute wait time. If a repair part is needed, the IPICS solution could be used to get a component and a technician to the plane more quickly than older systems that did not talk to each other.

A similar scenario might be played out on an automotive assembly line where one missing component can shut down an entire assembly line.

IPICS is available now. Initial pricing for software starts at $35,000.

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