Motorola Solutions today announced that it has acquired Emergency CallWorks, a software developer based in Birmingham, Ala., with a solution that enables 911 call centers to accept emergency calls and other multimedia in a next-generation 911 system.

“What we were really impressed with was, rather than some of the other products that are hardware-based—almost like a PBX that would take the call—this is a software approach,” Tom Guthrie, Motorola Solutions’ vice president of smart public-safety solutions, said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communication. “They load it on general-purpose servers, so this is almost like a software-based IP-telephony approach to get into next-generation 911.”

This approach enables flexible deployment of the Emergency CallWorks solution, which was attractive to Motorola Solutions, Guthrie said.

“It’s deployed two ways, which is another piece that we really liked,” Guthrie said. “One is that you can load it on a general-purpose server that’s in the PSAP, so it’s actually on the customer’s premise. But you can also host it, so you can provide, in a sense, the CPE as a managed service and have it shared across multiple PSAPs.

“They’ve done a good job of leveraging open-source—as opposed to heavily licensedtechnology and putting it on general-purpose servers. I like the positioning that they’ve made relative to saying, ‘What are the next steps to move into next-generation 911?’ and the ability to take in additional features and capabilities as we move from calls and text to multimedia and other ingress into PSAPs.”

Emergency CallWorks’ customers include the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which has agreed to use the platform as part of a solution in which General Dynamics Information Technologies is the integrator, Guthrie said.

Even with the Emergency CallWorks acquisition, Motorola Solutions will maintain its existing reseller agreements with Intrado for its VIPER product and with Airbus DS Communications for its VESTA platform, Guthrie said.

“We’ve been saying to our customers, ‘Let us bring whatever is the best solution for you,’” he said. “This actually doesn’t change that—[Emergency CallWorks] will be part of the mix. We will now have third solution.”

Guthrie said Motorola Solutions plans to keep Emergency CallWorks’ headquarters in Birmingham and the company’s 42 employees.

Emergency CallWorks CEO Craig Parker expressed optimism about the prospects of his company as a new part of Motorola Solutions.

“Together, Motorola Solutions and Emergency CallWorks have a clear, shared vision for the potential of [next-gen 911], and we are excited about the opportunity to accelerate adoption in the marketplace through Motorola Solutions,” Parker said in a prepared statement. “Our combined portfolio will provide unmatched incident-to-resolution capabilities for 911 operators and emergency responders.”