KANSAS CITY—Verizon Business, working with Cisco Systems, today launched an IP-based platform for public safety that is designed to provide network-based interoperable communications between disparate systems while leveraging entities’ existing LMR infrastructure.

“While this is a service to enable the interconnection of LMR radios, the LMR component remains in place—this serves as a bridging device, utilizing our core strengths in the IP world and Cisco’s strength in delivering IP applications to customers,” said Chuck Vick, emergency communications manager for Verizon Business.

Indeed, the new package consists of Verizon’s private IP networking capability and upfront professional services combined with Cisco’s IP Interoperability and Collaboration System (IPICS), which is designed to enable collaboration between disparate systems and myriad types of communications, including voice, text and data.

Public-safety officials have been hesitant to use commercial-carrier services in mission-critical systems because of perceived lack of reliability, but that should not be an issue with this offering, said Mike Marcellin, vice president of global product marketing for Verizon Business.

“A variety of other providers deliver their services over a network that combines private IP traffic and public Internet traffic,” Marcellin said. “That’s not the case here—we’ve basically built a separate infrastructure that doesn’t mix or commingle that traffic. That gives us not only a resiliency benefit but also a security benefit.

“In addition, we sit down with every single client, look at the specific sites they have and have a variety of backup and resiliency options that we can bring to bear, some of which can ride over a separate network, such as wireless or satellite.”

Public-safety entities that have access to their own private IP networks could use those instead of one provided by Verizon, if the network meets the standards required of the Verizon platform, Marcellin said. Verizon’s private IP network features redundant routers, fast rerouting capabilities and strong service-level agreements, particularly for mission-critical traffic, he said.

Marcellin said the Verizon interoperability solution is generally available immediately throughout the U.S. The state of West Virginia already has contracted to use the service.