DHS Science and Technology Directorate
Office for Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC)
The Office for Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC), an operating unit within DHS Science and Technology's First Responders Group (FRG), provides the science and technology that enables emergency communications and facilitates the seamless exchange of information to protect property and save lives.
John Merrill is the Director for the OIC under the FRG Division.
Today, the interoperability landscape consists of 60,000 state and local public safety agencies, federal agencies, and other stakeholders; 60,000 agencies mean 60,000 different sets of procurement regulations, budgets, and equipment lifecycles. Responders often cannot communicate within their own agencies – let alone with other agencies in other cities, counties, and states.
To respond to day-to-day incidents and large-scale emergencies, it is critical that first responders can access and seamlessly exchange data, audio, and video communications. In partnership with first responders, OIC is improving interoperability through the development of technologies and knowledge products as well as the acceleration of the standards development process. Examples include partnering with first responders and industry on the development of radios that can communicate across frequencies, requirements for public safety video use, and processes to ensure communications equipment works across manufacturers.
Additional highlights of OIC programs include: Voice Over Internet Protocol, which bridges disparate analog radio systems over an IP network regardless of the manufacturer; Virtual USA®, which enables information sharing across jurisdictional boundaries through existing and emerging technologies; Emergency Data Exchange Language Standards, open standards to ensure interoperable information exchange; and Commercial Mobile Alert Service RDT&E, which supports pre- and post-deployment development of a national service delivering geo-targeted alerts via mobile devices.
The Siren – First Responders Newsletter
The Siren Newsletter highlights recent FRG project accomplishments to keep readers informed about achievements, milestones and other helpful information. Check back every two months to read the latest Siren Newsletter.
DHS S&T National Conversation on Homeland Security Technology Update
(see relevant news, documentation and links to the right)