January 05, 2006
BIO-key Teams with Cingular to Provide Interagency, Intercounty First Responders Capability to Wirelessly Access and Share Information Across Local and National Databases
WALL, N.J.-- BIO-key International Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: BKYI.OB), a leader in wireless public safety solutions and finger-based biometric identification, and Cingular Wireless have been awarded a contract valued at more than $270,000 to equip a seven-county consortium of fire, police and EMS agencies in south central Tennessee with its public safety communications software.
This collaborative effort between police, fire, emergency management and communications agencies will give first responders access to mission critical information using BIO-key's MobileCOP solution in conjunction with Cingular's nationwide* EDGE wireless data network. It will give public safety officials, regardless of their agency or county jurisdiction the ability to quickly communicate and share information with each other.
The primary focus of this project is to provide homeland security-related services, deter domestic terrorism and promote regional data sharing, according to Lawrence County Director of Emergency Management Joe Baxter. Law enforcement officers in Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Maury, Perry, and Wayne Counties will soon be able to communicate with each other on the computer network, as well as access their individual department's record systems, do reports, or even run license tags through their own data terminal in the vehicle.
"We're very excited about the possibilities with this technology," Baxter said. "We have a very good group of forward-thinking County Executives who make the up the District 8 Homeland Security Council." The District 8 Homeland Security Council is co-chaired by Lawrence County's Ametra Bailey and Maury County's Jim Bailey. The executive committee that carries out the council's projects is comprised of the EMA directors of the seven counties.
"The need for communications and information interoperability is a well documented homeland security requirement, but, unfortunately, little has been implemented yet nationally. This integrated, cross-agency, cross-county solution for the Tennessee counties by BIO-key and Cingular will give public safety officials a leadership infrastructure capability to access critical information and services they need to protect their communities," said Michael DePasquale, CEO of BIO-key International.
The consortium will equip 150 vehicles with laptops enabled for MobileCOP and the high-speed Cingular EDGE network, the largest national wireless data network in the United States. Cingular's EDGE network is available in 13,000 cities and towns and along nearly 40,000 miles of major highways across the U.S. with typical data connection rates of 70-135 kilobits per second (Kbps).
"Public safety organizations across the country have come to depend on the state-of-the-art wireless solutions from Cingular and BIO-key for their communications needs," said Laura Johnson, director, enterprise solutions, for Cingular Wireless. "We are pleased to bring this expertise to the seven-county consortium to assist them in providing the residents of south central Tennessee with a higher level of security and safety."
With BIO-key's Cingular-enabled MobileCOP solution, as many as 500 public safety providers will have mobile, real-time, silent, secure access to local, state and national criminal justice databases for information on suspects, vehicles, and weapons. MobileCOP will also allow users to quickly send messages to others on the system, complete reports in the field and automatically track their activities. Another important component is automatic vehicle location technology that will ensure the closest available units responding to calls for service.