LAS VEGAS--Tokyo-based Kenwood Corp., the parent of Kenwood USA, and EADS Secure Networks, a subsidiary of Arlington, Va.-based EADS North America, announced this week at IWCE 2007 an agreement to collaborate on scalable, Project 25, or P25, systems for state and local public-safety agencies. Kenwood will provide P25 mobile and portable subscriber units, while EADS will provide IP-based, P25 digital trunked infrastructure.

The agreement is a major win for smaller public-safety agencies, according to Mark Jasin, senior vice president and general manager for Kenwood USA.

“They haven’t been able to buy an entry-level, P25 turnkey system—now they can,” Jasin said.

Though P25 technology typically is more expensive than other options, that shouldn’t be a problem for smaller agencies, according to Jasin. “Some will need grant money to purchase these systems, but smaller agencies are driven by grants,” he said. “The fact that these systems are P25 will help, because P25 is an absolute requirement for grant funding.”

The fact that the collaboration will result in turnkey systems also is a big plus, said David Cerqua, general manager for EADS Secure Networks. “Most RFPs [request for proposals] today require turnkey solutions,” he said, adding that the companies initially will focus on delivering systems with 3 to 5 sites.

The seed for the agreement was planted in Cumberland County, Tenn., which will deploy EADS infrastructure and Kenwood subscriber units to deliver a new 5-site, IP-based, P25 digital trunked system, Cerqua said. The new system—which was announced in January—will replace the county’s legacy analog system and will support the sheriff’s department, as well as fire and rescue, emergency medical and emergency management agencies.

Both Jasin and Cerqua described the collaboration as a win-win situation for their companies. “With Kenwood’s subscriber equipment and EADS’ network infrastructure, it was a natural fit,” Jasin said.

The agreement is non-exclusive, according to Cerqua, who said he already is eyeing other potential collaborators, naming EFJohnson and Tait as companies he has on his radar screen. “We’re actively talking to others,” he said.