Two Florida counties are going with Airbus DS Communications for their emergency communications management system. The counties are standing by their choice despite challenges from both Motorola Solutions and Harris Corp.
Airbus DS will be tasked with building a $32 million emergency radio communications system for Sarasota and Manatee counties. Both counties have obsolete radio communications capabilities and are working to improve communications channels for first responders.
Sarasota county is leading the procurement effort for the system.
In August, Cassidian Communications a unit of Airbus DS opened an office in Manatee county. The company plans to go after the considerable Next Generation 911 opportunity along the Gulf Coast. Airbus DS technology is already being used in more than 60 counties in the region.
The shift to Next Generation 911 technology is coming alongside other efforts like FirstNet which aims to improve communications capabilities for first responders during major events. CivSource previously reported on a new offering from General Dynamics along the same lines. The communications upgrade is also notable as it is being led primarily by defense contractors, speaking to their experience with critical communications, but also underlining the rapid militarization of police forces and other local first responders throughout the US. Recent police force responses in Ferguson, Missouri and elsewhere have highlighted the full extent of those capabilities.