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BRIDGE Low Countries ValEDation Days Held in Delft

21 Nov 2014

 

The Low Countries ValEDation days were held in Delft, The Netherlands, 10-14 November 2014. This program featured four of the nine main results of the BRIDGE project: (1) BRIDGE middleware, (2) Adaptive Logistics, (3) SWARM, and (4) Information Intelligence. In comparison to the functional applications presented at the Alpine and Nordic ValEDation days with respect to the (5) Advanced Situation Awareness, (6) Help Beacons, (7) Master, (8) e-Triage, and (9) FRITS, the Low Countries program focused on the Validation, Exploitation and Dissemination (=ValEDation) of infrastructural assets that enable interoperability between functional applications for end users, making it possible to collaborate in large scale emergencies.

 

On Monday a full day was taken to validate the Adaptive Logistics results that are mainly the result of collaboration between Thales, the TU-Delft and Almende.  The key assumption of this group was that large-scale emergencies will involve organizations and ICT systems from various agencies, possibly crossing national European borders. In such cases the acquisition of data for situation awareness, the creation of master overviews, the coordination of e-Triage and further emergency operations, will require the orchestration of many systems and services into cohesive, collaborative workflows.  The adaptive logistics team has focused on technologies that enable just this.  Particular attention was paid to the creation of a workflow language that makes it possible to mediate between the various organization-specific workflow systems. This has resulted in the BRIDGE Advanced Workflow Language (BRAWL). To be able to specify the quality requirements on any resulting workflows in terms of timeliness, reliability, availability and so on a supporting language was developed with which ‘smart’ operational constraints can be well formulated. While there is naturally a great deal to be done to further develop this, the End-User Advisory Board and the business developers confirmed that these assets are of critical value for the desired interoperability for which the BRIDGE project was initiated.

 

On Tuesday, again, a full day was reserved for the first initial validation of the BRIDGE middleware. This was developed in cooperation between the BRIDGE partners, featuring C-NET, Thales, the TU-Delft, ALmende, Saab, Fraunhofer, and SINTEF. This result of the BRIDGE project deserves special attention because it is crucial for enabling interoperability at a more infrastructural level. In fact, practically all of the BRIDGE concepts (see above) were meant to drive and test the BRIDGE middleware development.  During this Tuesday session the middleware was validated from this point of view: does it enable the desired interoperability of functional applications? It was concluded that the BRIDGE middleware essentially provides enabling services in the three main areas: Orchestration, Communications, and Data Management, and that these services were used and tested in the context of the functional applications such as E-Triage and Advanced Situation Awareness.

 

The Wednesday was devoted to the validation of two results concerning the monitoring of human resources in the field (SWARM) and social media analysis in large scale crisis events (Information Intelligence). The SWARM application, mainly developed by Almende, ties into Adaptive Logistics with emphasis on gathering data on the status and well-being of first responders from various organizations collaborating in the field.  It makes good use of the BRIDGE middleware, utilizing its capability to support agent-based applications. The parts of the BRIDGE middleware that it relies upon have already been deployed in commercial applications, making it possible to productize SWARM on a short term.

 

The Information Intelligence algorithms that were mainly developed by the University of Klagenfurt, make it possible to support common situation awareness in large scale events, by discovering localized sub-events within the overall crisis. When such information on sub-events, that may require the special attention of the incident commander, becomes available in real-time via the BRIDGE Master, better informed decision making will become possible. The Information Intelligence has been tested and validated with large historical data-sets from social media companies on prior emergencies. It is now ready for further testing and validation with further data-sets and actual real world emergencies.

 

The ValEDation days were concluded on Thursday with an ‘exploitation’ day. In the Netherlands the choice was made to have an in-depth conversation with a number of senior business developers, rather than a full day of presentations and demonstrations with a large audience of emergency response professionals. This proved to be a very well spent day. There was in fact a great deal of appreciation for the results described above, especially because the functionality and qualities of the results were so thoroughly validated.  Furthermore, the possible value of integrating inter-organizational workflows (with BRAWL) was fully recognized, as was the value of integrated human resource monitoring (SWARM) and the detection of sub-events within large scale crises (Information Intelligence). On the whole it was concluded that follow-up events to be initiated by Thales are to be held to further investigate the exploitation of the BRIDGE results in the Low Countries – and also to explore the possibilities in the Nordic and Alpine countries in cooperation in the expected exploitation activities there.

 

 

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