• United States
Contributing Writer

Adding more intelligence to emergency systems

Aug 26, 20032 mins
Enterprise Applications

* The Regional Alliance for Infrastructure and Network Security

There is a push in the world of government infrastructure to move from e-gov to i-gov.  Inherent in this statement is the notion that we’ll eventually move from a government infrastructure focused on e-business to one that is focused on intelligence – a wider net, for sure.

One sign of this is the advance of a project that was launched back in 2001. Called the Regional Alliances for Infrastructure and Network Security, or RAINS, the project was created to link high-tech companies, universities and local law enforcement to further homeland security.

The thinking was simple: take the latest and greatest technology available and use it to quickly disseminate information to the correct individuals at the correct time. A subtext to this project was to not only get the information out – for instance emergency signals – but to add intelligence to this information.

Say there was a chemical fire in a neighborhood. A RAINS infrastructure would not only alert the appropriate responders, but would offer them information on the chemicals involved and how to combat such a fire. This information could come via video, FAQ, whatever means necessary.

The trick is to do all this without taxing the current infrastructure. Last week, RAINS announced a platform, created in Portland, Ore., that would do just this and at the same time enhance the current 911 system in certain areas. The way the platform works, dispatchers enter the same information they normally do, but the system is programmed to go out over more than just the phone… responders can also be notified over the Internet.

According to IDG News Service, four other states are working on similar RAINS projects. The Portland Project was set to debut last week.

Participating in the program are companies such as Fortix, Tripwire, Centerlogic and Swan Island Networks.  It takes advantage of XML and Web services to gather and distribute information to proper authorities. And the system is touted to be incredibly secure, with information being locked down so that it can’t be “copied, forwarded, edited or printed by recipients unless authorized to do so.”