Cisco Systems, Inc.(r) demonstrated today a communication system designed to easily integrate disparate push-to-talk radio systems together with other communication resources like voice, video and data devices. These next generation capabilities are designed to allow organizations to easily collaborate on daily operations, safety, security, and emergency management across different networks, both wired and wireless.
Cisco touted its advanced capabilities in Cisco Internet Protocol (based) Interoperability and Collaboration Systems (IPICS) technology and has announced that this will be a new emerging technology area of focus for the company.
Essentially, Cisco has developed a new systems-based approach which can improve operational efficiency, streamline organizational decision making and emergency safety and security management. Potential organizations that could benefit from these capabilities include large enterprises as well as transportation, retail, finance, public safety, and defense groups.
"Cisco views IP as the future for all communications systems," said Charles Giancarlo, Chief Development Officer, Cisco Systems. "Cisco IPICS technology has the potential to deliver a platform to provide an inexpensive solution for pervasive radio interoperability that helps organizations dynamically manage the flow of all types of information, collaborate across multiple networks and organizations, and improve overall operational effectiveness and efficiency."
Effective communications and collaboration are critical both for enterprise operations and emergency management. Enterprises will benefit from virtualizing different resources and making intelligent decisions based on parameters such as time, user roles and responsibilities. As an example, retail customers can easily integrate sales support, inventory management, shipping and loading, and other functions for enhanced customer satisfaction and operational cost savings. Hospitals can use the Cisco IPICS technology to integrate ambulances with the front office and provide notification systems for doctors and nurses.
Making the Connections that Count
Many organizations and agencies rely heavily on push-to-talk communication systems from their Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks for their daily operations. Often, these radio networks remain isolated and do not work together with other wireless, voice, and data networks.
With Cisco IPICS technology, both proprietary and standards-based push-to-talk radios should be able to interoperate not only with each other but also with analog phones and other IP-based wired and wireless devices including cellular phones, Wi-Fi laptops, PDAs and IP phones.
"As the largest container terminal operator in the Port of New York and New Jersey with over 5,000 truck transactions handled each day, reliable integrated voice and data communications that reach crane operators, field engineers and operations management from anywhere on our 450-acre terminal is business critical. In fact, all production stops without effective integration of voice and data communication," said Steven Rummel, Vice President of Information Technology, Maher Terminals at Port Elizabeth, New Jersey. "Cisco IPICS technology can be rapidly deployed to meet the most demanding requirements for our daily operations and information sharing."
Controlling Costs while Increasing Reach
Many organizations have invested money, time and resources into push-to-talk radios. Cisco IPICS technology extends the reach of these radios to new communication systems without requiring a replacement of any of the existing radios or communications equipment or changing the way they use their existing radios. Building upon its history of connecting disparate networks, this integration of disparate radio networks with Cisco IPICS technology is the latest demonstration of the evolution of IP.
"As the 13th largest city in the United States, it is important to have a system that provides constant and immediate access to integrated communications for public safety, emergencies and daily operations," said Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann. "We are pleased to participate in the Cisco IPICS technology early field trial as it enabled us to address interoperability problems by taking advantage of the same operating procedures and IP infrastructure that we currently use."
In order to provide interoperable voice communications systems it is critical to integrate other push-to-talk technologies and services, like the Sprint Nextel Walkie-Talkie service, with existing LMR systems.
"Public sector customers have come to depend on Sprint Nextel for highly secure and reliable communications, especially when public safety communications must cross traditional boundaries," said Chris Hackett, Vice President of Public Sector Programs for Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S). "By increasing interoperability capabilities to deliver integrated voice, video, data, instant messaging and geographic information systems, Cisco IPICS technology can help Sprint Nextel deliver more choice and flexibility to its public sector customers while protecting their operational investments."
The key components of Cisco IP Interoperability and Collaboration Systems technology include:
* Cisco IPICS Server Hardware
* Cisco IPICS Server Software
* Cisco IPICS Push-to-Talk Management Center (PMC) Application and Cisco IPICS Voice over IP XML Services
Evolving the Intelligent Information Network
In 2003, Cisco began articulating a 3 to 5-year vision for developing an Intelligent Information Network. Phase I is comprised of the integration of video, voice, and data across a system of networks, while Phase II adds the virtualization of networking, storage, server, and security services. The Cisco IPICS technology clearly shows progress in the third phase with intelligent application-based networking systems taking on new roles and driving new forms and modes of communication.