Michigan-based Codespear said that Wayne County, Mich., has selected its software to create emergency communications directly with the county's residents, businesses and public-safety agencies.

Built on the same platform that Wayne County uses to allow public-safety officials to communicate interoperably over disparate private-radio and commercial networks, the alert system automatically will call designated numbers in case of an emergency.

Glen Seaman, vice president of business development and product strategy, said he expects the alert system to automatically call home phones with official information in case of emergency. Citizens will be able to request alerts to their other communications devices via a Web interface, he said.

Tied to mapping software, the Codespear messaging system only will send alerts to devices in a given area targeted by the emergency coordinator.

In addition, Codespear has approached federal officials about the possibility of using its solution to address interoperability concerns expressed by lawmakers and policymakers in recent months. Some estimates indicate that nationwide interoperability will cost at least $15 billion to implement. Seaman said Codespear could achieve the same result for $500 million and not require new hardware to be purchased.