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Ref: Partnership will push interoperable communications among response agencies

Businesswire


Core Services Initiative Will Advance Emergency Communications




WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--COMCARE Emergency Response Alliance, the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC), the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) jointly announced they will conduct a Core Services Initiative to significantly improve interoperable, inter-organizational communications and information sharing for emergency preparedness, response and recovery. The initiative will leverage requirements and technical designs developed by COMCARE, OGC processes and standards-based technologies, and the skills, expertise and best practices of NENA and NASFM to advance this effort.

“For the wide diversity of professions and jurisdictions, public and private, to communicate, there must be sophisticated, shared information technology services ‘in the middle’,” said Steve Cooper, new COMCARE Director, and former Chief Information Officer of both the Department of Homeland Security and the American Red Cross. “These are Core Services,” he added. “They contain critical information about the organizations, registered by them, and the rules, set by policy makers, about what each group can do in an information sharing environment.”

The need for Core Services has been consistently identified in FCC Network Reliability and Interoperability Council (NRIC) reports, Congressional legislation, NENA’s Next Generation Partner Program recommendations and in numerous other reports. In emergency situations, agencies need to share critical information, which requires that they know what organizations need specific information, or how to register to receive it, and where (computer, radio frequency or other) to send or retrieve information. COMCARE has designed two Core services to meet this need; an Emergency Provider Access Directory agency locator service and identity management/access control service. To move from design to deployment, COMCARE, NENA, and NASFM are seeking one or more technology partners to supply the “alpha” versions of these two Core Services. An Invitation to Qualify has been released. If you are interested in being considered as a technology partner, please contact Judith Woodhall at jwoodhall@comcare.org.

The Initiative will subsequently leverage the developed Core Services along with OGC’s open standards to demonstrate the ability of authorized agencies to send warnings and alerts to the appropriate public, to send and receive emergency messages (data) to and from other authorized organizations, and to more easily link radio, cellular and land-line voice systems together.

The Core Services Initiative will have three phases. COMCARE will lead the first phase, focused on the development of the Core Services. During the second phase, a Core Services Interoperability Pilot will be conducted using OGC’s proven piloting process to standards-enable the services to demonstrate interoperability of the Core Services with standards-based geospatial, sensor, location-based services, and other technologies for improved situational awareness. A third phase will emphasize field trials of the Core Services, showcasing their all hazards capabilities in real world settings. The end result will be tested core services that companies can competitively offer to the emergency response community in a standardized manner.

Bob Cobb, Interim Executive Director of NENA, said, “We wouldn’t have a telephone system without telephone directories, or an Internet without Domain Name Servers, yet today there is no single, standards-based approach to record either organizations and information about them, or what information they are allowed to send and receive.” Robert Doke of NASFM, and Oklahoma State Fire Marshal, added: “Core services are critical missing elements in the national campaign for emergency interoperability, and they need to be developed cooperatively which is what this initiative is doing.”

OGC’s president, Mark Reichardt, added, “We look forward to contributing the OGC proven method of advancing standards-based interoperability to this important work, and to illustrating the improved situational awareness provided by applying interoperable geospatial technologies.”

For more information on the Core Services Initiative, including opportunities to participate, please contact Judith Woodhall, Executive Director, COMCARE, jwoodhall@comcare.org, or +1 202 429-0574 x203.

© 2007 Businesswire

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