EADS North America announced during last week’s Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials conference in Montreal the launch of an Internet Protocol-based system architecture that it said would provide interoperable Project 25-complaint voice communications to public-safety agencies.

The company conducted a joint demonstration of the technology during APCO with EFJohnson, which provided repeaters and radios. The demo was conducted “in the spirit of making P25 an open standard,” said Peter MacLaren, president-public safety for EADS.

According to MacLaren, there is a need for open standards to develop in P25, not just on a radio interface level, but also on a network level. “In the public-safety business, that currently doesn’t exist, and we’re committed to doing that in the P25 environment,” MacLaren said. “The common air interface is an important first step, but it’s only a first step. The industry needs standardized solutions.”

He said “lots of countries” outside the U.S. and Canada have moved to national strategies concerning the development of digital voice communications, but companies in North America tend to work autonomously for “political reasons”. “The result is disparate and incompatible systems,” MacLaren said. “Vendors have never had a strong mandate to cooperate with each other.”

MacLaren said he’s not concerned that EADS is a relative latecomer to the P25 market segment, having to compete with well-established companies such as M/A-COM, which pioneered IP-based interoperable communications.

“We have strong leadership in digital systems globally, so it seemed the right time to enter the U.S. market,” he said, particularly because the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has tied future federal homeland security grants to the use of P25-complaint systems.