IUP Research Institute Business and Technology Group, Inc., (BTG) came ready and willing to meet the nation’s demand for improvement of technological interoperability at this year’s Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID).
Held in five locations around the U.S. and involving more than twenty global coalition partners, CWID is an annual event that examines the latest information technology aimed at enabling swifter communication among disparate systems, reducing risk, and preventing operational shortfalls during an emergency situation.
As one of the organizations invited to participate in this years CWID, BTG traveled to the demonstration site at the DHS National Operations Center Battle Lab in Herndon, Virginia, to showcase the capabilities of CIMS (Civil Support Team Incident Management System). The system, which was originally developed for National Guard Civil Support Teams, was designed with digital battle board capabilities. Facilitating the sharing of critical data across disparate systems and providing a common operating picture, CIMS arms responders with critical information crucial in helping to successfully mitigate emergency situations. Targeting such clear, rapid interoperability technology and applying it to the national level is the aim of CWID.
This year’s interoperability demonstrations took place from June 6–16. Over the course of this eleven-day period, participating technologies underwent a series of interoperability trials—exercises that place them in several operational-inspired scenarios to assess how each would perform in the event of emergencies involving floods, weapons of mass destruction, hazardous materials, oil spills, etc.
In preparation for the trials, Patrick Higgins, a BTG project manager, and Calvin Wilson, a senior at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an intern with BTG, traveled to Virginia the week prior to testing to instruct National Guard soldiers on how to operate CIMS. They returned Monday, June 13, to survey CIMS’s first day of testing.
“Different officials from the Department of Homeland Security were very pleased with what they saw,” Higgins said, regarding the first day’s demonstration of CIMS. “They were impressed by how quickly and clearly CIMS could pass information between both civilian and other military systems.”
Wilson was also extremely pleased with CIMS’s performance during the demonstrations. “Participating in CWID has been a great experience for both CIMS and myself,” Wilson said. “And I feel that we made a significant contribution to CWID as well.”
However, BTG’s participation in CWID is due in large part to the Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) MicroGrant program.
Created with companies like BTG in mind, the KIZ MicroGrant Program was established to not only assist Keystone Opportunity Zone companies in the “commercialization of a product or innovative technology, to test the feasibility of a technology or product, or to assist a company in completing a milestone project that will directly help catalyze the growth of the company,” but also to provide opportunities to students at participating colleges and universities. By awarding the grant to BTG, the KIZ program accomplished all four objectives.
“With funds from the KIZ MicroGrant, we were able to further develop CIMS’s capabilities so that it would meet the compatibility standards of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS)–Open Platform for Emergency Networks (OPEN),” said Higgins. “It took several months, but we were able to integrate the functionality and that earned us a seat at CWID.”
During the demonstrations, CIMS drew attention for its success in enabling swift communication among disparate systems.
“The bottom line is that in an emergency, different systems are coming together and they need a common operating picture. They need to be able to pass data between different personnel so that officials can make decisions,” Higgins said. “And that is what CIMS provides. It creates a way to get to the solution.”
For nearly ten years, IUP Research Institute Business and Technology Group has provided clients from all sectors of society with unique and expertly designed business and technology solutions that organize, manage, and improve their overall operational performance.
With robust software development capabilities, BTG offers a powerful portfolio of products and capabilities, including program management, software engineering and integration, technical writing, evaluation, research design, and implementation and Department of Defense certification and accreditation.
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