Michigan-based Codespear today announced that Wayne County, Mich., has selected its software to create emergency communications directly with the county’s residents, businesses and public-safety agencies.

Built on the same platform that Wayne County uses to allow public-safety officials to communicate interoperably over disparate private-radio and commercial networks, the alert system automatically will call designated numbers in case of an emergency.

Glen Seaman, vice president of business development and product strategy, said he expects the alert system to automatically call home phones with official information in case of emergency. Citizens will be able to be able to request alerts to their other communications devices—for instance, cell phones or PDAs—via a Web interface, he said.

“They can even put time and day restrictions, like ‘Only hit my home phone at night, my cell phone during the day and my e-mail at another time,’” Seaman said. “The failing of other alert systems is that, over 50% of the time, they get voice recorders. It doesn’t do any good if you’re leaving voice messages on someone’s recorder, and most people aren’t home any more.”

Codespear’s ability to communicate with a variety of communications devices will help Wayne County—serving 43 jurisdictions—better protect its citizens, according to Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. "Before choosing Codespear, 43 separate transactions were required to get a single message out to agencies in each of our communities. Now it's one click of the mouse,” Ficano said in a prepared statement. “While you can't put a dollar amount on saving lives, the Codespear system is the most comprehensive and cost effective we've seen."

Tied to mapping software, the Codespear messaging system only will send alerts to devices in a given area targeted by the emergency coordinator.

Although Wayne County is Codespear’s biggest announced customer to day, the company has won an interoperability contract in a “large” state that will be announced in the near future, Codespear CEO Paul Hodges said.

In addition, Codespear has approached federal officials with the possibility of using its solution to address interoperability concerns expressed by lawmakers and policymakers in recent months. Some estimates indicate that nationwide interoperability will cost at least $15 billion to implement. Seaman said Codespear could achieve the same result for $500 million and not require new hardware to be purchased.