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Government agencies show off their new radiological information sharing system

In the past, we’ve issued a couple of press releases (here and here) about some of the work we have done with the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). We’ve been working together for the past 18 months or so to deliver cross-agency sharing of real-time information about radiological activity from sensors in major cities, at airports and at other ports-of-entry around the US.

This week, Nick Harris (of the Information Sharing Environment) posted an update on the ISE website detailing the substantial progress in tracking and accurately communicating information about radiological events. The multi-city, multi-agency demonstration took place earlier in July, and Solace was very proud to have participated with DNDO to demonstrate and communicate the role and value of the Mission Critical Messaging (MCM) backbone.

It’s pretty cool stuff, check it out here.… Read the rest

Evolving the Digital Nervous System

iStock_000016682100XSmallMetaphors in enterprise architecture are a dime a dozen and I find that many of them just don’t work for me.  However, I have always liked the concept of the digital nervous system. Despite the term getting extensive use in Bill Gates’ 1999 book Business @ The Speed of Thought, it is unfortunate that the concept remains largely that – a concept – more than a decade later. The idea is that a digital nervous system is similar to a biological nervous system in that they both have multi-sensory inputs, intelligent filtering, the ability to correlate information in real time and can respond to those inputs. These parallels actually fit most closely with scientific and military use cases rather than big enterprise because they are more often about real-time telemetry used for sense and respond, or command and control.

For the past decade the United States (and other countries) have been building out an incredible variety and volume of electronic telemetry and sensors connected to global networks for:

  • Weather and climate analysis
  • Chemical/Biological/Radiation/Nuclear (CBRN) detection
  • Facial detection using video and still cameras
  • Suspicious activity recognition
  • Cyber security that surpasses the sophistication of the most advanced algorithmic trading operations

Using the metaphor, if the sensor networks are like the nerves of the human body, and the algorithms are the instincts and learned activities of the brain, then what we need are the systems that represent the body’s muscles.… Read the rest

Sensors the only sensible answer for protecting the oceans

As we have all watched the tragic drama in the gulf unfold over the last two months, it occurs to me that information technology will inevitably play a much bigger role in the future of offshore drilling. Even absent catastrophic problems like we have seen with the Deepwater Horizon rig, there’s no doubt we need better mechanisms for dealing with monitoring offshore wells.

In fact, the handling of this crisis is giving us a glimpse of the future of safety in open water drilling, now that money is less of an object. Here are a couple of recent articles that caught my eye:

  • BP oil spill update: sensors measure spill — BP has installed sensors near the wellsite to improve their ability to estimate how much oil is spilling into the gulf. Some of the harshest criticisms have been around their inability to accurately determine how bad the situation is at “ground zero”.
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10GigE; What will fill the pipes?

It seems to me that every time a new generation of high-capacity networking technology makes its debut, there’s an accompanying list of applications ready to use up all that bandwidth. It’s taken for granted that applications will always find new and creative ways to use up all the available bandwidth. I’ve been disappointed, however, with the list of interesting use cases for 10GigE. It just seems like many are the same old bunch from when 1GigE launched — social networking, video, etc.

Does that mean we’re on the verge of having more bandwidth than we need? Hardly. I believe the new applications that will fill the 10GigE pipes are not entirely new at all – they are mashups of applications, services and trends that already exist, combined in ways that will chew through bandwidth like nothing we’ve ever seen.

Bandwidth Hogs

  • H1. File sharing (Multi-Gigabyte torrent files are getting commonplace)
  • H2.
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