Surveillance Society {Funny}

Surveillance Society {Funny}

This was funny photo my wife and I took in a medical practitioner’s office.

Above the floodlights, was a picture of these staring eyes.

And it was simply thumbtacked onto the wallpaper.

One of the receptionists asked why we were taking the photo.

We sort of giggled–uh, this was not exactly the typical surveillance scenario in the 21st century of CCTVs, drones, hidden mics, tracking devices, and big data–not even close!

But maybe it’s just a reminder that someone is ALWAYS looking. 😉

Shalom Rotundus

Rotundus, the rolling robot, was designed by the European Space Agency for exploration of distant planets like Mars and Mercury, but now it has found its way into many earthly avocations.
This Groundbot has “eyes” on either side of its roly-poly robotic body and has a unique internal pendulum for maneuvering around.
Currently, Rotundus is deployed for sentry duty at SAAB auto manufacturing plants.
However, as you can see in the video, it can also function comfortably in a home environment as a quasi baby-sitter for the kids.
Already, we see robots in Japan providing service to people from servers in restaurants to caretakers for the elderly.
I appreciated the interview with the CTO at Rotundus who shares his vision for robots that “provide not only security, but also pleasure to people.”
Rotundus is a great example of how robots can come in virtually any way, shape or form.
The key is that robots leverage the best of automation and innovation to help ordinary people do things simpler, easier, and more convenient than ever before.

>Fusion Centers and Enterprise Architecture

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An important way to share law enforcement and intelligence information in a physical setting is through fusion centers.

Government Technology’s Emergency Management Magazine, Spring 2008, states “the ultimate goals of any fusion center is to prevent terrorist attacks and to respond to natural and man-made threats quickly and efficiently.”

“Data fusion involves the exchange of information from different sources—including law enforcement, public safety, and private sector—and with analysis, can result in meaningful and actionable intelligence and information…The fusion process allows relentless re-evaluation of existing data in context with new data in order to provide constant updates.”

Fusion centers bring together federal, state, local, tribal, and private sector subject matter experts to share information, provide risk and threat assessments, and provide a coordinated response.

“Nearly every state now has a fusion center to address gaps in data sharing.” In the fusion center, there is real time video monitoring that can be panned and zoomed, GIS mapping capabilities and the ability to amalgamate information. The advantage of the fusion center is that all participant organizations have the potential of seeing and hearing the same thing at the same time—although local authorities “cited difficulties accessing federal information systems.”

Not all fusion centers are permanent; some only are formed to deal with special security events like the Olympics and so forth. But those that do function 24×7 hone the skills of the participants by having them work together in a steady ongoing fashion.

While you would think that technology would do away with the need for fusion centers, since the information can be shared virtually, and therefore participants would not need to be co-located, there are benefits to having people deal with people from other organizations face-to-face.

As a User-centric enterprise architect and one who believes strongly that the human capital perspective is under-appreciated or neglected altogether, I appreciate the need for fusion centers, joint operations centers, interagency coordination centers, and the like to share not only information and technology resources, but to actually work together, cooperate, coordinate, and build stronger ties across functional and organizational silos. This is really what “enterprise” architecture is all about—breaking down the silos and building a unified, more effective and efficient organization.

The fusion center solution acknowledges that the challenge of law enforcement, intelligence, and counter-terrorism efforts needs to go beyond pure information technology initiatives. We can’t afford to just have siloed agencies and organizations working out of their own “corners.” There is a need for people to come together and collaborate in a face-to-face environment.

As architects, there is an erroneous tendency to focus on technology solutions. This is suboptimal. We need to look at business process improvement and reengineering, the introduction of new technology, and continuing to build an ever more skilled, innovative, and cohesive work force. This User-centric EA approach ties to a three-pronged approach of people, process, and technology.