LAS VEGAS--Raytheon JPS Communications yesterday announced the creation of a team of industry experts that will be available to customers as they attempt to tackle the operational challenges that accompany interoperability efforts.

With solutions such as Raytheon JPS's trademark ACU-1000, "the technology's there" for public-safety entities to achieve interoperability, according to Raytheon JPS spokeswoman Kristy Hudson. However, many public-safety entities -- particularly those with smaller budgets -- may not have the manpower or knowledge base necessary to create protocols and prioritizations that ensure interoperability is managed correctly.

"We realize interoperability is not solved through technology alone," Raytheon JPS President Kenneth Marks said in a prepared statement. "To accomplish true interoperability, first responders must overcome jurisdictional and geographical boundaries to establish interagency agreements, policies, procedures and protocols."

With this in mind, Raytheon JPS established a Subject Matter Expert (SME) team of industry professionals with considerable experience dealing with interoperability issues and the ability to share their knowledge with Raytheon JPS customers, Hudson said.

"These guys ... have already been there, so why reinvent the wheel?" Hudson said. "That's why we offer these guys as a resource."

In addition to offering advice regarding the best way to manage interoperable communications, the SME team can provide users with recommendations regarding the best way to write grant applications when seeking federal funds. Hudson said the creation of the SME team reflects Raytheon JPS's philosophy that its responsibility extends beyond simply selling equipment.

"Customer service is our mission," Hudson said. "We can sell all the equipment in the world, but if it's not being used properly, what have we achieved?"