Johnson Controls links first responders to county-wide communications network

Johnson Controls will begin the next phase of work on Cook County's Project Shield, a communications system for first responders in municipalities across the County. This is the third phase of Cook County's Project Shield and will create the nation's largest regional broadband interoperable communications system for first responders...

• Project Shield will create nation's largest broadband interoperable first responders' communications system

MILWAUKEE, WI, Oct. 28, 2008 -- Johnson Controls will begin the next phase of work on Cook County's Project Shield, a communications system for first responders in municipalities across Cook County. This is the third phase of Cook County's Project Shield and will create the nation's largest regional broadband interoperable communications system for first responders.

Project Shield was initiated on 2003. Its primary goal is to ensure the safety and security of County residents by putting the tools to manage emergencies swiftly and efficiently directly in the hands of first responders across Cook County.

"This next step of Cook County's Project Shield effort is a perfect example of how we work with our customers to develop ingenious solutions that create a more comfortable, safe and sustainable world," said Thomas Gannon, vice president & general manager of Systems, Johnson Controls Inc. "When leaders have a vision for using technology to support the enterprise, we supply the manpower and brainpower to guide their ingenuity to fruition. We share Cook County's approach, in that we consider long-term needs and develop applications that support future innovations to come while protecting the existing technology investment."

This phase of Project Shield expands the capability to an additional 80 communities within Cook County, and complements and allows additional expanded capabilities in support of the Cook County Sheriff's Radio Network. It allows video surveillance exchange with the City of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications and defined critical infrastructures such as regional water treatment plants. It also enables an Emergency Alerting capability which will allow a single message to be broadcast to multiple mediums, including PCs, mobile data terminals, wireless handheld devices, cell phones and pagers.

Real time video and data streams can now be accessed directly in first responder vehicles, a technology that gives first responders access to the breaking information about an emergency or disaster.

"The ability of first responders to get real-time information in a disaster is critical, and now Project Shield puts that information directly in the hands of the public safety workers who most need it," said Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. "These technological capabilities will help agencies and municipalities communicate much more efficiently in a disaster, and get boots on the ground to tackle disasters -- and protect public safety and health -- that much more quickly."

Phase Three of Project Shield deployment also introduces the Cook County Communications Command Center, commonly referred to as C5. C5 has the ability to integrate all regional and statewide public safety communications systems for listen-only as well as two-way voice traffic with any other network programmed into the system. In addition, C5 has the ability to enable interoperable push-to-talk capabilities between standard cell phones and PDA's with public safety land mobile radios.

Cook County is made up of 128 municipalities, including Chicago, which also serves as host city for many of the County's central offices. Those 128 municipalities encompass approximately 85% of the County's 946 square miles, with unincorporated areas over which Cook County has direct jurisdiction making up the remaining 15%.

Cook County is the second most populous county in the United States, with roughly 5.3 million residents -- more than 40 % of the population of Illinois. The region is a national transportation hub, a leading center of corporate and commercial activity, and one of the nation's most dynamic centers of trade and commerce.

Johnson Controls creates smart environments that redefine the relationships between people and their surroundings.

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