Redmond, Wash.–based Zetron announced that its Advanced Communication (Acom) EVO digital dispatch console system recently completed Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) testing that showed it to be interoperable with Raytheon’s P25net land-mobile radio system.

The Acom EVO system leverages both the Project 25 Console Subsystem Interface (CSSI) and Digital Fixed Station Interface (DFSI) to ensure that it is interoperable with P25-compliant radio systems, according to the company. Previously, Zetron proved interoperability with P25 radio systems manufactured by Cassidian Communications. Last year, Zetron and Cassidian collaborated on a dispatch system deployed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for the G-20 economic summit in Toronto.

The ability to leverage open architectures to achieve interoperability with multiple radio vendors enables customers to develop best-of-breed systems that are customized for their unique needs, said Ellen O’Hara, Zetron’s president and CEO, who noted that freedom of choice can pay off long after the initial system has been purchased.

“We’re aware of a number of old, proprietary P16 systems that still are in the marketplace today, and the manufacturer of the system no longer wants to support that console,” O’Hara said. “Customers who want a new console are locked in — they can’t get a console from the original manufacturer, and they can’t get a console from anyone else. So, not being locked into a particular manufacturer is something that’s very critical.”

Zetron also has demonstrated interoperability with non-P25 radio systems. For instance, the company last month hooked up with Tait Radio Communications on a dispatch system being installed by Puget Sound Energy, the largest combined gas and electric utility in Washington State. The system incorporates Zetron’s Acom console and Tait’s 200-MHz, MPT-IP radio system.

O’Hara said she hopes some of the industry’s largest radio vendors will take note of Zetron’s interoperability with Cassidian, Tait and Raytheon and establish their own compatibility with the company’s products.

“We obviously are encouraging all of the P25 infrastructure radio manufacturers to open up their interface in order to develop a CSSI so that we can give customers that choice,” O’Hara said. “We’re making progress. We believe that both of the major manufacturers — Motorola and Harris — will have a CSSI within the next year. Customers are pushing for this … and we believe that they are listening to their customers.”

The ability to mix and match console and radio systems will be increasingly important as more agencies consolidate — something that is occurring more often of late, according to Kathy Broadwell, Zetron’s vice president of product management.

“Instead of every single town and county having their own system, they’re starting to move toward centralized dispatch and radio systems that are shared. When you do that, you can’t get rid of all the equipment that’s out there and start over,” Broadwell said. “Trying to consolidate when you have different systems out there has led them to the fact that there’s only one solution — they all have to start focusing on open standards where they can talk with each other. So, consolidation has supported the move toward open standards, which is driven by economics.”

In other news, Zetron announced that it is shipping its Max Dispatch system, which was introduced at the International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) in March. One of the system’s key features is a streamlined user interface that reduces the clutter that appears on a dispatcher's screen at any given time. Only the most pertinent information related to a specific incident, job function or task appears on the screen; additional informations is sent to the background, but is accessible at the click of a mouse.