12 December 2005

Reducing Operational Risk Through CAP & IPv6...

After attending the United States IPv6 Summit last week it was apparent that Emergency Preparedness and National Security is a top priority. This is increasingly true as we see the grades on our progress by the 9/11 commission and others with regard to data communications and interoperability issues. One facet of all of this has to do with the important work already underway by the technical committees at OASIS:

The mission of the EM TC is to create incident and emergency-related standards for data interoperability. The TC welcomes participation from members of the emergency management community, developers and implementers, and members of the public concerned with disaster management and response.

Standards currently under review by the committee:

The Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), a data interchange standard for alerting and event notification applications, currently in version 1.1. CAP functions both as a standalone protocol and as a payload for EDXL messages.

The Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL), a broad initiative to create an integrated framework for a wide range of emergency data exchange standards to support operations, logistics, planning and finance.

Why is IPv6 and CAP a big issue in operational risk management? It will save lives and property as it is deployed in numerous communications devices and services in the future. Currently, the big drive for IPv6 is new uses, such as mobility, quality of service, privacy extension and so on. The U.S. Government has also specified that all federal agencies must deploy IPv6 by 2008.

Karen Evans and the OMB are preparing the federal CIO's for the transition:

The CIO Council will develop additional transition guidance as necessary covering the following actions. To the extent agencies can address these actions now, they should do so. Beginning February 2006, agencies’ transition activity will be evaluated using OMB’s Enterprise Architecture Assessment Framework:

• Conduct a requirements analysis to identify current scope of IPv6 within an agency, current challenges using IPv4, and target requirements.
• Develop a sequencing plan for IPv6 implementation, integrated with your agency Enterprise Architecture.
• Develop IPv6-related policies and enforcement mechanisms.
• Develop training material for stakeholders.
• Develop and implement a test plan for IPv6 compatibility/interoperability.
• Deploy IPv6 using a phased approach.
• Maintain and monitor networks.
• Update IPv6 requirements and target architecture on an ongoing basis.

Much of what IPv6 is all about has to do with capacity of our current standard IPv4. However, as more emphasis is put on interoperability and the use of millions of new data capture and reporting sensors both CAP and IPv6 will both be essential building blocks to the future. One example illustrated the other day is the changes being made in London and other global metro areas to capitalize on the fact that most citizens are carrying mobile phones with picture and video taking capabilities. These video images are increasingly being utilized to assist both law enforcement and emergency responders with new insight into the real situation as it unfolds. In some cases while voice circuits are jammed the data communications can get through.

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

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