Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


County sets up next-generation 911 network

Morgan County, Ohio, has launched an emergency 911 system capable of accepting calls from the public over a wide range of formats, including text, Internet, VoIP and video.

The system, designed by General Dynamics IT, is one of the first 911 systems in the United States to comply with the National Emergency Number Association's (NENA) i3 architecture standards, the firm said, which enables local and nationwide 911 interoperability.

NENA’s i3 standards call for end-to-end Internet Protocol signaling from a Voice over IP (VoIP) endpoint to an IP-enabled public safety answering point, with callback and caller location information provided to the PSAP with the call.

On a practical level, the new system means someone needing to contact 911 can do so over the networks and applications at hand during an emergency, which traditional 911 systems are not designed to do so.

The ability to expand the options for callers means more calls can be fielded and connected, providing dispatchers and police departments more data and thus more opportunities to make a critical intervention in an emergency.

The next-generation 911 technology also provides enhanced GIS data that maps the caller’s location information. Calls and associated information can then be transferred to the closest or most suitable emergency response team, the company said.

General Dynamics built the Morgan County system on a secure cloud architecture, which provides high reliability, redundancy and the means to scale communications to accommodate emergency systems of neighboring counties.

Posted on Jul 29, 2014 at 11:43 AM0 comments


Interior consolidating content management systems

The Interior Department is consolidating its nine content management platforms into single one, based on the open source Drupal CMS and hosted in the cloud. Bureaus within the agency will be able to maintain the same look and feel of their websites, while running them from the common platform.

With this new open source platform, the department will save on software licensing fees – paying for none instead of nine. Alexandria, Va.-based Phase2 will be building the Drupal platform for Interior, and IBM will host it in its cloud.

"What we realized four or five years ago is that each of the bureaus had their own content management system, with different contracts and different platforms," Tim Fullerton, director of digital strategy at Interior, told FCW. "It's really expensive to do it that way."

The most challenging part, Fullerton said, was that this approach -- a consolidated, departmentwide CMS platform, open source and in the cloud – had not been done before in government.

"We're hoping to lead by example and show agencies it's a great model for improving efficiencies," Fullerton said. "Since we've gone through the contracting process, agencies can go to DOI if they need help and adjust the documentation to meet their needs."

DOI will be building out the platform over the next three months, holding workshops to identify bureau needs and training employees in Drupal.

A longer version of this article appeared on FCW, a sister site to GCN.  

Posted on Jul 21, 2014 at 11:49 AM0 comments


E-discovery firm granted patent for litigation data management tech

UBIC Inc., a provider of litigation support and big data analysis services, was granted a patent for software used to manage data in legal proceedings.

The company said the patent granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recognized its “development of unique information technology used in the archiving and retrieval of historical information related to the legal discovery process.”

The software makes it easier to identify potential evidence related to particular persons, known as "custodians," who may be holding documents relevant to litigation or an investigation.

The documents, which are often buried in extremely large electronic data sets, are then assembled by UBIC and other service providers for organizations in litigation.

UBIC's custodian mapping technology is integrated into the company's Lit i View data analysis platform

Posted on Jul 17, 2014 at 7:48 AM0 comments


Army enterprise apps march into core data centers

The Army has been eliminating unused applications and migrating other enterprise applications and systems to designated core data centers as part of a Defense Department-wide initiative and the Army's consolidation of more than 1,100 data centers.  About 800 unused apps have been terminated to date, out of about 11,000.

Killing apps no longer in use and still on computers and servers saves on licensing fees and upgrades, Neal Shelley, chief of the Army Data Center Consolidation Division, told the Army News Service.  Fewer apps also increase economy of scale, since service providers typically discount on volume. Also, fewer apps mean less potential for malware, according to Shelley.

Consolidating apps into centralized data centers in the cloud – hosted by the Defense Information Systems Agency or commercially – is also increasing efficiencies and performance.

For example, the migration of a distance-learning app from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., to the enterprise level  dramatically increased available bandwidth. Additionally, enterprise management is now making the distance-learning app more secure, robust and reliable, Shelley said.

But eliminating redundant applications is not as easy as getting rid of unused ones. Data associated with the app may have been collected for 20-plus years and must be migrated to the new app, Shelley said. And, the app owners and users must be consulted so everyone is on the same page during the transition.

And not all local apps will migrate to the enterprise level, he said. For example, special purpose apps used to power parts of the Army's industrial base, research labs or medical equipment will likely remain on local servers.

Once redundant, obsolete or inefficient apps are removed or replaced by enterprise versions, the cost savings can rapidly accrue. Just how much money can be saved is hard to calculate yet, Shelley said. 

Posted on Jul 16, 2014 at 7:48 AM0 comments


Disease detection project tested at Brazil’s World Cup

Disease detection project tested at Brazil's World Cup

Soccer wasn’t the only thing Brazilians were watching last week.

Using tablet-based software designed by the Centers for Disease Control, public health experts from Brazil’s Ministry of Health tested a disease detection system that gives researchers the ability to identify outbreaks earlier and with more precision.

The tablet-based system and the Epi Info software driving it are seen as an important advance in helping to identify outbreaks earlier and with more precision. That ability is especially important in mass gatherings such as the World Cup and other major events, the Centers for Disease Control wrote in its Our Global Voices blog.

According to the CDC, this the first large-scale (both numerically and geographically) disease surveillance system designed to collect and then stream data to a central location where public health officials can access it via a centrally located dashboard for analysis and response.

The software is the key, CDC explained. Tablets are pre-loaded with specialized CDC developed Epi Info software that allows epidemiologists in the field to collect data for a wide array of categories and indicators. The data is stored offline until Internet connectivity is available, at which point it is sent to the cloud for aggregation. At a “home base” that is often an emergency operations center, the data can then be viewed on a dashboard that is continuously updated with statistical results, charts, and maps.

The capability will allow outbreaks to be detected far quicker than with previous technology.

With the system functioning well after the first two weeks of the World Cup, Asad Islam, CDC’s Epi Info team lead, said that it is conceivable to take the lessons learned there and apply them to other public health surveillance and response activities related to outbreaks, natural disasters or humanitarian crises. That remains in the future, however. As successful as the World Cup experience has been to date, the system is still in pilot stage. 

Posted on Jul 14, 2014 at 7:48 AM0 comments