Raytheon’s JPS Communications yesterday announced that it has partnered with Missoula, Mont.-based Invizeon Corp., to market an emergency-alert system to universities and public-safety customers.

Invizeon’s CHAIN solution is an open-architecture, software-based emergency-alert and messaging product targeted for secondary responders, such as volunteers and private-sector organizations. It uses the common-alert protocol interface, which supports a full-duplex data exchange capability between disparate systems, said David Todd, the company’s president and CEO. He said the original system was marketed to secondary responders who do not have land-mobile radios but have access to cell phones, PDAs and pagers.

“The challenge is that they are all on different networks [and] protocols and, during a critical event, none of the devices are managed under one system,” he said. “So the initial response during a critical event is very labor intensive and time consuming and not efficiently organized.”

Via a web-based interface, the software manages the transmission of emergency-alert messages to first- and second-responders devices, networks or protocols based on pre-programmed talkgroups established for the type of incident, Todd said. It organizes emergency-responder groups, location and correlates the data with each specific response plan that is pre-determined by users of the system. For example, if an incident happens at a nuclear plant, specific alarms or e-mail blasts can be sent to plant personnel, management and first responders who communicate on different devices.

By partnering with JPS and incorporating its ACU interoperable product line, the system now can send alarms to land-mobile radios.

“It is a unified communication capability that, from one system, can reach first-responders on their radio and the secondary, supporting responders and personnel on-call on whatever device they are using,” Todd said.

The move to partner with JPS was driven by the market and discussions with its current customer base. Federal, state and local agencies requested a communication alert that could assist in massive natural or man-made disasters, such as an event similar to Hurricane Katrina, where first-responders as well as private and nonprofit organizations were on scene to assist with the disaster.

“Customers kept telling us they needed to interact and communicate between those two groups, the radio users and non-radio users,” he said. “We were determined to develop a solution that would enable information to be transmitted from the mobile command center to first responders on their radios and secondary responders on different devices.”

Chris Ramsden, project manager for JPS Communications, said the company saw the partnership as a logical extension of the interoperability compatibilities the company has delivered to the market, specifically to first responders.

“We have a large population of ACUs being used by first-responder agencies and they want to be able to link them all together either statewide or region-wide, and adding this [Invizeon] system is furthering that integrated effort, so it made a lot of sense,” Ramsden said.