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Ref: Interops communication project highlights areas for improvement

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NCO Consortium Identifies Critical Emergency Responder Interoperability Gaps; Proposes Network-Centric Solutions to Address Them

WASHINGTON, April 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Network Centric
Operations Industry Consortium (NCOIC(TM)) today presented key findings of
its Network-enabled Emergency Response (NEER) project and highlighted
interoperability barriers that hinder emergency responders' ability to save
lives and property. NCOIC undertook the project because response
organizations -- numbering more than 100,000 in the U.S. alone -- now have
little ability to share vital information in real time. This includes the
U.S. military when it supports other responders during complex humanitarian

The first NEER finding is that every emergency response organization
should be connected to a network that is based on Internet protocol (IP).
Because IP is the international common language of data communication,
NCOIC proposes that communicating "everything over IP" (EoIP) would be the
first, and most essential, move toward interoperability. NCOIC opted for
EoIP as a time and cost saving alternative to buying the same communication
devices for thousands of organizations.

"We're not talking about building a new network or asking responders to
abandon their radios," said Terry Morgan, NCOIC vice-chairman. "EoIP can
transmit voice, video, data and text to devices and software applications
they own and operate now. In this network-centric approach, responder
systems can find out who has the vital information and who is allowed to
send or receive it."

The second NEER finding is that there is no nation-wide, map-defined
electronic registry of all emergency response organizations, their
responsibilities and their information routing information. The third gap
is the absence of a system that confirms a response organization's identity
and its authorization to send and receive various types of information.

"Today, sharing emergency information takes a series of phone calls, a
lot of duplication and precious time that responders can't afford to lose,"
said David Aylward, director of COMCARE Emergency Response Alliance and
vice- chairman of NCOIC's NEER effort. "Without an organizational registry
and rights management, what we call 'core services,' emergency
communications in the future would be like using a telephone system without
a phone book and having all responders on one big conference call."

The NEER project team, which includes European industry and government
leaders, is reviewing policy and technical descriptions for core services
that it believes all categories of emergency responders should have. NCOIC
will advocate for their near-term development, standardization and
availability. The NEER project is based upon the Mobile Emergency
Communications Interoperability (MECI) study, published by NCOIC in 2007
and available at

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