Federal Signal in systems space

FS Codespear, Riverchase acquisitions create municipal, commercial security solutions
Saturday, September 1, 2007

OAK BROOK, Ill.--Federal Signal, a 100-year old manufacturer of municipality-targeted products including street sweepers, fire trucks and sewer cleaners, announced July 25 the acquisition of Riverchase, a public-safety software manufacturer that provides municipalities with computer-aided dispatch, records management, mobile command center and integrated digital video capabilities. Coupled with January's acquisition of Codespear, an emergency management software developer, this allows Federal Signal to offer solutions that incorporate virtually any municipal system or communication device into one holistic solution with one interface.
As a result, the company has also created the Safety and Security Systems Group and within that a Municipal and Government Systems business unit, both of which will be looking for integrator channel partners.
"Customers were buying warning signals, street sweepers, environmental monitoring systems, campus alerting, and on-board emergency vehicle systems from us," said Michael Wons, vice president and chief information officer, who came to Federal Signal from Microsoft in 2006. "The challenge was that they wanted to bring all of that together so that as they would buy one of our solutions, it would plug in with the other solutions." With FS Codespear, "now we can take the assets customers had and move them onto a common platform ... with the end goal of enabling any device in any location at anytime to be able to communicate."
"What's important," said vice president of strategic businesses development Gregory Sink, "is that the municipalities don't have to buy a bunch of brand-new stuff ... We provide a migration path so they can add to their existing platform and make strategic buying decisions going forward to acquire things that make sense for public safety."
"As we integrated our public safety and security assets, landed right in the middle of the emergency operations center," Sink continued, "so the next step would be to get into computer aided dispatching ... That's where Riverchase Technologies' public safety software comes in." Its products include the Predator Mobile Data System, which offers real-time access to local and state law-enforcement databases, computer-aided dispatch, instant messaging, e-mail and chat. Other products offer GPS tracking and integrated street mapping.
"So, as we go forward with solutions," said Wons, "we are building out the partnership channel." He said Federal is working toward announcing a certification program for installers by the end of 2007.
"The integration piece is huge," Wons emphasized. "It's the thing that's important with our platform: We allow integrators to develop solutions on top of it, so they have the ability to go in and develop specific uses geared toward what the customer needs."