Posted By Martha Hill,
Friday, September 4, 2015
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The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the technology landscape. From environmental monitoring, transportation and infrastructure management, to manufacturing, health care and building automation, IoT is providing sensing and data sharing capabilities that were unimaginable a decade ago. Now the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has launched a pilot to apply IoT to the challenge of vastly improving responders’ situational awareness during emergencies. That pilot, the Incident Management Information Sharing (IMIS) Internet of Things Pilot, kicked off at a two-day meeting July 9-10 at the Integrated Justice Information Systems (IJIS) Institute on the campus of the George Washington University Virginia Science and Technology Center.
The IoT is the rapidly expanding network of objects embedded with sensors able to gather, communicate and exchange data with other devices. It includes everything from “smart” household appliances to sensors monitoring traffic flow and municipal water systems. For responder use, new types of low-cost wireless sensors are emerging that can quickly make a wide range of observations of an incident, its environment and its effects on people, including the responders themselves. Among those types are in situ environmental sensors (e.g., temperature, wind, radiation and toxic substance detectors), wearable sensors (e.g., cameras, explosives detectors and vital signs monitors) and imaging sensors (e.g., visible light and infrared cameras) on mobile platforms such as unmanned aerial systems and autonomous vehicles.
Evolving networking technology enables these sensors to connect automatically as soon as they are deployed. Simple connectivity, however, is not enough to meet the needs of emergency responders. Responders require access to continually updated observations, analysis, alerts and predictions from emergency response information systems and mobile devices to ensure they have an accurate shared view of conditions. Many current sensor platforms need too much preplanning and infrastructure set-up to work in rapidly evolving situations. Their nonstandard integration systems can prevent information sharing. Responders need standardized technology that makes sensors easily and immediately identifiable, accessible, usable and useful across all teams and information management platforms involved in an incident response.
Such technology is S&T’s goal.
S&T’s objective is to harness the potential of the IoT as part of its Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Apex program. Under its contract with S&T, IJIS is acting as prime contractor on the pilot and has brought the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and its members onboard to provide the technical expertise required to develop interoperability solutions that employ lightweight, low-cost wireless sensors to support incident response and management. This partnership has enabled S&T to assemble a working group of nine organizations from around the world, including Botts Innovative Research (Huntsville, Alabama), Compusult (Nova Scotia, Canada), Envitia (West Sussex, United Kingdom), GEO Huntsville (Huntsville, Alabama), Noblis (Falls Church, Virginia), Northrup Grumman (McLean, Virginia), SensorUp (Alberta, Canada), the University of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) and 54⁰ North (Műnster, Germany). Their goal is to develop and demonstrate a prototype IMIS IoT architecture tailored to the real-world requirements of the emergency response community by the end of December 2015.
Acknowledging the extraordinary technical challenge the team faces, NGFR Apex Program Director John Merrill advised team members to “see the world through responders’ eyes” when planning and developing their prototype. He enumerated the unique needs of responders in critical incidents, especially the need to “get the right information to the right person at the right time.” He added that too much or unnecessary information can be a dangerous distraction to responders in emergency situations, and that reliability is essential for any technology to earn and keep responders’ trust. Finally, he focused on integration. “The NGFR Apex program has 40-plus technology projects in the works, and to be useful to the first responder community those technologies all have to work together seamlessly. The necessity for reliability and interoperability,” he said, “makes standards a primary focus and foundation for this pilot program.”
Throughout the two-day meetings, discussions and white board brainstorming enabled the group to refine their understanding of responder requirements. An emergency scenario and associated use cases involving a collision between a train and a chemical tank truck served as a structure for identifying the situational awareness and information exchange challenges responders face. The team identified a wide array of needed sensors, platforms and data technologies required to meet those challenges. A clear road map is in place.
“It’s a really talented team,” said Merrill, “and the proof is going to be when they plug in their prototype in December and it does exactly what it’s expected to.”
NOTE: This blog first appeared on firstresponder.gov. It has been reposted with the approval of the Department of Homeland Security.
Internet of Things
Posted By Andrea A. Walter,
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Updated: Monday, August 24, 2015
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Future World Wide Web technologies commonly labeled as being part of Web 3.0 and Web 4.0 could substantially change how the criminal justice enterprise operates. These notably include Semantic Web technologies, intelligent agents, and the Internet of Things. In September 2014, RAND conducted an expert panel for the National Institute of Justice to discuss how the criminal justice community can take advantage of (and reduce the risks from) these emerging technologies. The top unifying theme from the panel was to leverage web technologies to improve information-sharing and protection across the criminal justice enterprise, and to address challenges that the new technologies raise. Another major theme was improving practitioners' knowledge of web technologies. Priorities included general education on key web technologies, and model policies and procedures for using them. A third theme was to improve the networking infrastructure needed to support web technologies (and other applications), especially for courts and corrections. Fourth, several needs became apparent related to leveraging wearable and embedded sensors (part of the Internet of Things), with an emphasis on using sensors to improve officer health and safety. Finally, panelists frequently noted the importance of civil rights, privacy rights, and cybersecurity protections in using the emerging technologies for criminal justice. While there were few needs about these topics specifically, panelists noted that more than half of the needs raised security, privacy, or civil rights concerns, or had implied requirements on these topics. Read the full report online at http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR900/RR928/RAND_RR928.pdf.
- How will web technologies that are just over the horizon, including semantic tagging, intelligent agents, and the Internet of Things (IoT), change how the criminal justice enterprise operates?
- How can the criminal justice community take advantage of (and reduce the risks from) these emerging web technologies?
Information-Sharing Must Be Improved
- There is a need to leverage web technologies to improve information-sharing and protection across the criminal justice enterprise.
- In addition to leveraging web technologies for information-sharing in general, top priorities included developing a common criminal history record and cataloging scheme; developing real-time language translation capabilities; and developing displays or "dashboards" to meet officers' tailored, dynamic information needs.
Practitioners' Knowledge of New Web Technologies and Their Uses Must Improve
- Priorities included general education on key web technologies, as well as the model policies and procedures for using them.
- Panelists also called for procurement checklists and cost-benefit tools for systems acquisition, as well as for policies and procedures to address the anticipated rise of unmanned vehicles.
Infrastructure Must Be Improved
- The networking infrastructure needs improvement to support web technologies (and other applications), especially for courts and corrections.
Criminal Justice Uses for Emerging Sensors Related to the Internet of Things Should Be Explored
- Several needs were expressed related to leveraging wearable and embedded sensors (part of the Internet of Things), with an emphasis on using sensors to improve officer health and safety.
Civil Rights, Privacy Rights, and Cybersecurity Protections Must Be Addressed
- Panelists frequently noted the importance of civil rights, privacy rights, and cybersecurity protections.
- While few needs about these topics were specifically expressed, panelists noted that more than half of the needs discussed either raised concerns or had implied requirements regarding security, privacy, or civil rights.
- Partner with the Standards Coordinating Council and constituent information-sharing development efforts to explore how semantic tagging and intelligent agents might be leveraged to expedite information-sharing, with criminal history data as a starting point. Experiment with real-time language technologies.
- Focus education efforts on: semantic technologies that support finding, accessing, and translating key information; sensor systems for monitoring officer health, officer safety, and maintaining community supervision; video conferencing; and civil rights, privacy rights, and cybersecurity protections.
- Designate a group to develop law enforcement requirements, policies, and procedures for interfacing with self-driving cars.
- Develop field experiments with video teleconferencing links for inmate communications and remote education. Pursue novel business models and support to make Internet links more affordable in rural areas.
- Experiment with health and safety sensor feeds, both wearable and embedded, and with Internet-connected sensor systems to support maintaining the location and tracking of offenders under community corrections supervision.
- At a strategic level, seek to ensure that civil rights, privacy rights, and cybersecurity protections are built into technology developments, standards, policies, and procedures from the beginning. For intelligent agents that support decisionmaking, research how to ensure the quality of data used to make the decision, and how decisionmakers should use the agents' recommendations. Conduct research to advise on common attributes for policies, procedures, and required protective technologies for sensors related to the Internet of Things.
Source: John S. Hollywood, Dulani Woods, Richard Silberglitt, Brian A. Jackson, RAND Research Report, 2015, http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR928.html
Standards Coordinating Council