A novel service from Swan Island Networks crunches through and filters, then combines and aggregates information from a broad variety of big data sources to produce targeted alerts for cities.  First rolled out in 2004, the technology is currently in use by over 250 commercial customers to connect different agencies and information sources.

“Trusted Information Exchange Service [TIES] promises to allow city managers to create and share real-time common operating pictures of their cities,” said Charles Jennings, CEO of Swan, a Portland, Ore.-based provider of situational intelligence software and services. “There is everyday value and the ability to use this in a crisis to stay on top of what is happening.”

Offering both detailed dashboards to privately collect and assess data from a certain city, as well as a more general view providing information to the general public, TIES has already seen use during several recent emergencies, including at Fukushima after the tsunami and nuclear power plant meltdown, the shootings in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, and in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina hit.   Collaboration across cities using this technology is also a possibility, allowing them to learn from one another’s experiences.

Robert Dodge, president of Dodge Global, an international risk management consultancy, was an early adopter of TIES, calling it “intelligence-led risk management.”  He went on to say:  “I saw a ton of potential to aggregate data and visualize it… With TIES, all this information could be presented on one screen.”   TIES uses CAP (Common Alerting Protocol), a data format used for sharing critical data between agencies, which is also used by all 50 states and 19 federal agencies in the form of NIEM (National Information Exchange Model).

Microsoft’s CityNext initiative, which is offered in conjunction with TIES, is now looking forward to how to help cities connect to the cloud better, and reap the benefits economically and developmentally.  As Jennings puts it, without the cloud trawling through this quantity of data would be unfeasible, but using the cloud based services, the options are limitless.

(Image Credit:  Richie Diesterheft)


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