EFJOHNSON, STATE OF WISCONSIN LAUNCH STATEWIDE INTEROPERABLE COMMUNICATION SYSTEM
IRVING, TEXAS – April 30, 2012 – The State of Wisconsin today launched its new Wisconsin Interoperable System for Communication (WISCOM), a statewide system that will allow emergency responders to seamlessly communicate across jurisdictions. The launch was celebrated during a special commissioning ceremony at the Fond du Lac Police Department, hosted by the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance. EFJohnson, one of the nation’s leading developers and manufacturers of communications technology for emergency responders, developed the new system’s backbone in partnership with the Wisconsin State Patrol and prepared it for deployment over the past few years.
Additional participants at the ceremony included representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the State Interoperability Council, and members of the Wisconsin Statewide System Management Group, a committee tasked with managing Wisconsin’s statewide communications system. The Wisconsin Statewide System Management Group awarded final acceptance to the new, EFJohnson-developed system last month, after comprehensive regional and statewide testing, clearing the way for its full deployment statewide and launch today.
“Deployment of WISCOM enables our state’s public safety agencies to communicate with one another, regardless of city or county boundaries or the type of equipment used,” said David Spenner, statewide interoperability communications manager for the Office of Justice Assistance. “Wisconsin’s emergency responders now have access to a reliable communications system that will help them fulfill their mission to protect and save lives.”
Historically, radio communications among public safety agencies in Wisconsin have been hindered due to the use of proprietary equipment and the inability of systems to interoperate. The events of September 11, 2001 convinced agencies across the nation, including those in Wisconsin, of the critical need for systems that will allow first responders to communicate with one another during large-scale disasters. These circumstances led to the creation of WISCOM, an integrated, interoperable network that is capable of providing mobile radio coverage to public safety agencies and certain non-governmental public service entities across the state. Individual counties have the option to leverage the WISCOM backbone as they upgrade legacy systems or deploy new communications systems.
“WISCOM is a flexible, robust statewide P25 system that will provide mobile coverage for 95 percent of the state,” said Andy Adams, president and CEO of EFJohnson. “The ability for counties to share a statewide infrastructure will result in long-term cost savings for everyone. By utilizing WISCOM, agencies will share the infrastructure and avoid costly duplication of equipment.”
The WISCOM backbone was built with EFJohnson’s Trunked P25 System solution. This means the system complies with Project 25, a suite of standards designed by communications equipment vendors to promote interoperability among brands.
In addition, WISCOM’s fully distributed architecture enables maximum flexibility and scalability in network design and deployment, allowing plug and play new site additions as coverage needs changes or as local agencies replace their legacy systems and join WISCOM. Its wide area connectivity allows users to communicate across site boundaries over a common IP network, alleviating manual interventions. In addition, use of the distributed switchless network, which does not require a centralized core network, increases reliability and eliminates single points of failure.
With the WISCOM backbone in place, several Wisconsin counties and public safety agencies are already building out their systems to leverage the statewide network. In partnership with Two-Way Communications and Pointon Communications, EFJohnson is working with Iowa County, Sawyer County, Taylor County, Kewaunee County, the City of Fond du Lac and the Wisconsin State Patrol to build new P25 compliant systems with non-proprietary technology to ensure interoperability. Deployments of these systems will begin in mid-2012.