Leading 911 systems provider Intrado this week announced that several technology companies are participating in Intrado’s Intelligent Emergency Network (IEN) Connect program, which lets providers test their products to ensure that they interoperate within the next-generation 911 environment.

Announced in January, the IEN Connect program lets participating companies test their equipment and services to demonstrate compliance with the Emergency Services Messaging Interface (ESMI) standard used to connect public-safety answering points (PSAPs) with the outside world.

Current IEN Connect partners include Compasscom, EmergiTech, Informer, Moducom, Nine One One, Positron Public Safety Systems, TCI, VisionTek and Valor Systems.

“The people that are in the program now are really the first movers toward the ecosystem that will provide the enhanced feature functionality and the foundation of the next generation of 911,” said Stephen Meer, Intrado co-founder and chief technology officer. “We’re not just trying to do the same old thing with a new protocol; we’re trying to dramatically change the tenor and the operating environment.”

All IEN Connect participants have worked with Intrado in joint lab tests and/or field trials. While many partners are established vendors in the 911 market, many are new to the space or plan to expand their portfolios beyond their existing product set, Meer said. The Intrado IEN Connect program is designed to “lower the barrier to entry” in an effort to minimize product-development costs and encourage the availability of more feature functionality in the next-generation 911 system.

“Most of these guys get the benefit of working with us at no cost,” Meer said. “If you’re a vendor and you want to work with ESMI, come talk with us, and we’ll figure out how to support you.”