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

Mar 22 Webcast: DHS sharing of critical sensor network data

Tune in tomorrow, Tuesday March 22nd at 1:00 PM ET/10:00 AM PT to the Homeland Security Science and Technology webcast on their real-time chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) sensor network. They will discuss how this information is integrated and shared among local, state, federal, commercial and NatLabs stakeholders.

The team presenting this webcast has integrated their data onto the DNDO Mission Critical Messaging (MCM) network, which runs on Solace.… Read the rest

Reason 7: Content and location routing in real-time

This is part 7 in a 10 part series: 10 reasons for the growth in middleware appliances. The series summarizes what we’ve learned from our clients about what they value in appliances and why they selected Solace.

As we often do, we start this entry with a metaphor…

Five years ago, there were two distinct ways to consume entertainment and educational content: TV and the Internet, and they were quite distinct.  Today the lines are blurred — you can stream NetFlix, search YouTube and chat with Facebook friends from your internet-connected TV, and watch TV programming from Hulu or recorded by your DVR on your laptop or mobile device.  You don’t have to be Nostradamus to predict that sometime soon TV and the internet will be fully merged, but if you saw that coming five years ago, you would have been considered visionary.

That’s How Messaging and Content Routing Are Today

Today, enterprise messaging is a well understood set of technologies that are used in a well-defined way — applications agree on a topic, queue, or subject which is used to express interest in that content, and the messaging layer plays matchmaker to get data where it needs to be.  … 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”.
Read the rest

Come See us at TCIP 2010

For the next few days our government team will be immersed in the world of emergency messaging and alerting at the Technologies for Critical Incident Preparedness conference in Philadelphia. We’ll be in booth #505, so please stop by if you’re in the neighborhood.

We look forward to discussing the announcements we made last week (DHS/DNDO as a customer, Thermo Fisher as a partner, and our new geospatial routing capability) and seeing what else is hot in the world of information exchange and critical incident preparedness.

In addition, we’ll be participating in a demonstration designed to show off how a range of technologies can help authorities manage a multi-faceted critical incident. In the scenario, an ammonia leak is detected in the Philadelphia Flyers’ arena shortly before game time, just as a severe weather front is moving into town. The scenario includes the routing of alerts and information as citizens are notified about the situation and given appropriate instructions depending on their location, hazmat teams are dispatched to the site of the ammonia leak, injured parties are sent to the best hospital for treatment, a tornado warning is issued, and more.… Read the rest

Making sense of sensor networks

Sensor Networks are Coming of Age

Sensor networks have been with us for years, but the combination of ubiquitous wireless networks, higher bandwidth, cheap storage, improved battery life and solar power are driving more and more applications towards data collection using sensors of one kind or another. These systems get very complex very quickly. Just consider:

  • The sensors are usually distributed and heterogeneous
  • Aggregate sensor data production rates are sky high (number of sensors times sample rate per sensor) particularly when combined with images and video
  • The sensors can be fixed or mobile
  • The people applications interested in the meaning of the sensor data can be fixed or mobile
  • What is deemed important within the sensor data is fluid and constantly changing

How do you make sense of a massive stream of information, distributed across a large geography where the relationships between sensors and their surroundings can literally be changing minute to minute?… Read the rest

An emergency response demo that was a real train wreck

Standards body meetings aren’t usually all that exciting, but last week’s National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Training Event and OASIS Emergency Management Interop was an exception. The centerpiece of the Interop was a demo designed to show how NIEM, Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) and Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL) standards could help a dozen government agencies share information and coordinate activities in a set of simulated emergency situations. The three scenarios were a train crash/chemical spill, a tornado warning, and an Amber Alert. Not your typical dry standards body fare!

Discovering the Joy of DM-OPEN

The agencies involved in the demo, and many technology vendors, worked closely over the month or so prior to the event to iron out challenges that cropped up in what should have been a straight-forward integration and compatibility exercise. The demonstration relied on the FEMA Disaster Management OPEN (DM-OPEN) communications tools.… Read the rest

News on news: products, partnership & standards


This has been a busy news week for us, as we released information about two exciting product developments and a project that we’ve been hard at work on with Sun Microsystems. For good measure, we were included in a fourth announcement issued by OASIS. Below is a summary of the four pieces of news. Watch this space, because we’ll be posting more information about all of this news over the next few days.

Finally, OASIS (the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) just announced that we’ll be participating in a joint demonstration at the upcoming Emergency Interoperability Summit in Baltimore.… Read the rest

Geospatial industry growth

New research from Daratech shows that geospatial solutions growth slowed to a crawl this year, but given the number of market segments that dipped 20% or more over the past 12 months, you’d have to conclude that this remains a hot market. Details are available here.

Here at Solace, we entered this market earlier this year with products and solutions for scalable geospatial routing and alerting. This is hot property in a variety of markets including government, logistics and social networking.… Read the rest