Cistera Networks announced that it successfully completed the first deployment of its ConvergenceServer, which features the company's LMRRecord application engine designed for the Cisco IP Interoperability and Collaboration System (IPICS) 2.0.

Derek Downs, president and CEO of Cistera Networks, said the deployment is inside a mobile command van that supports first responders in the Alaska borough of Matanuska-Susitna. The van is available to multiple agencies including local fire, police and emergency medical services, as well as the Division of Forestry. It serves as a command post during emergencies, drills and large-crowd events, and it was outfitted with Cisco IPICS 2.0, which links two-way radios to an IP communications environment and supports satellite, land mobile radio, cellular and landline networks.

“In the event there is a regional emergency, Matanuska-Susitna officials want to have the truck become the central communications command [center] and be able to connect the various groups on the fly into particular talk groups,” Downs said. “They also want to make sure as they do exercises that they can capture how they responded, for training and in the event they need to document it. The recordings become an important requirement.”

Dennis Brodigan, emergency services director for the Matanuska-Susitna area, said the mobile communications van is used by law enforcement during major incidents, such as a hostage situation. It also is used by the Division of Forestry to assist firefighters during the May start of the area's wildfire season. In addition, the Department of Emergency Services will use the van to respond to events in the area's remote regions.

“The van supports interoperable communications with all responding agencies as well as being able to receive and send information via the Internet and satellite technologies,” Brodigan said. “It is a mobile base of operations.”

Downs said the solution gives area first responders recording, monitoring and playback capabilities for all IP communications. He explained that the software-based platform resides on a convergence server that sits alongside an organization's main server. It is a user-friendly, plug-and-play solution that creates an audit trail for IP communications and provides an archive of conversations.

“We have the ability to listen into the multicast for a talk group and then time-stamp it for search capabilities,” he said.

The recording solution assists with capturing incident data for later review, said Gina Wheeler, a program manager for the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center who works with Brodigan. She said that during a drill in -20° F weather, communication supervisors were able to sit down with the recording interface and figure out how to use the system in just a few minutes.

“We were really happy with the user interface and how simple it was for the dispatchers to learn,” Wheeler said.

Downs said the solution starts at $15,000, depending on configuration.