In this paper we describe a possible solution to the problem of service discovery in heterogeneous wireless networks. This solution involves introduction of a network independent service discovery layer, with as main goal the improved robustness of applications running on top of it. A possible implementation, based on special usage of the JINI middleware offering spontaneous service interaction for distributed computing, is proposed. It has been realized in the Scalable Personal Area Services platform (SPEARS) aimed at demonstration of the ad-hoc facilitation of the communication between and co-ordination of, emergency relief personnel (professionals as well as volunteers) in disaster areas and under extreme conditions. © 2004 IEEE.