The National 911 Profile Database is open and accepting 911 system data for 2013 on a variety of key issues impacting public-safety answering points (PSAPs), the National 911 Program announced.

“Nearly three-quarters of the nation’s state administrators are working to collect and share state data through the 911 Profile Database,” National 911 Program Coordinator Laurie Flaherty said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “Real data will provide the 911 community with ammunition to make the case for the needs of 911 systems locally and nationally.”

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Last Thursday, a little before 11 p.m., a group of “clean cut and well-dressed” 20-somethings strolling through Philadelphia’s moneyed Rittenhouse neighborhood called gay slurs at two men before launching an attack that sent both men to the hospital.

Four days later, Philadelphia police posted a surveillance video of the group on Youtube.

And mere hours after that, an anonymous Twitter user with the handle @FanSince09 announced that he’d found the perpetrators … entirely through social media.

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The Army is serious about tackling application sprawl and identifying systems that can move to government data centers and commercial cloud environments.

So far, the Army has identified 62 applications that are ideal for hosting in the cloud, said Michael Krieger, deputy CIO/G-6, following an AFCEA event Monday on the future of Army IT programs and priorities.

The service will move applications to the Defense Information Systems Agency’s milCloud or to commercial cloud vendors cleared to host the Army’s most sensitive data classified at levels five or six, Krieger told FedTech.

“The Army has got to make a decision,” he added, about what must be hosted in a government facility and what applications can be moved to level five or six commercial providers. “I think what you’re going to see is applications maybe moving to industry quicker than DISA just because of DISA’s throughput,” said Krieger, adding that he is monitoring four Army cloud pilots involving Amazon and IBM.

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The National Science Foundation has announced two $10 million projects to set up cloud computing test beds – Chameleon and CloudLab — that will support experimentation with new cloud architectures and cloud applications.

Chameleon and CloudLab will be available for free to researchers. I suspect that many will take advantages of these freebies, perhaps more than the NSF anticipates.

As you may recall, NIST was the government organization that defined cloud computing, including private, public, and hybrid clouds, as well as IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. It’s not that strange that the NSF would provide test beds for research purposes and allow researchers to learn more about what the cloud can and can’t do.

The $10 million spent on these projects is a drop in the bucket in the bigger scheme of things, but it could spin out to billions of dollars in new technology value when all is said and done.

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A tweet from Indiana Pacers player Roy Hibbert put an Indianapolis officer in the spotlight Monday.

Hibbert posted a picture of an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer who got out of his car to give a homeless man a pair of boots near the 30th Street exit ramp off of Interstate 65.

The homeless man, Frank, told RTV6 he has been homeless since 2011. He said when he first saw the officer, he thought the officer was coming to give him a ticket.

Instead, the officer gave him a pair of shiny black boots.

The Defense Department is seriously considering how it can move certain classifications of sensitive data into secure cloud environments operated by private companies.

DoD’s acting CIO, Terry Halvorsen, said the department will announce five pilots within the next 20 days. “I won’t give you the exact timeline, but it could be the first of September,” Halvorsen told attendees Wednesday at the Federal Forum conference sponsored by MeriTalk and Brocade in Washington, D.C.

Halvorsen’s team received approval to begin testing how DoD can migrate level 3 and level 4 military data to the cloud. These classification levels are for controlled unclassified information (CUI), which includes data that are For Official Use Only (FOUO), Law Enforcement Sensitive (LES) or DoD Unclassified Controlled Nuclear Information.

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Over the past year or so, two friends of mine, both in the publishing industry, described to me how all the systems in their facilities — content management systems, business applications, and so forth — were moved out of their respective companies’ data centers and into the cloud. In both cases, the transitions took place with relatively few hiccups (but lots of memos I’m sure). Otherwise, again in both cases, everything remains the same — same IT staff, same business processes. The applications simply run on different servers, hosted elsewhere.

In perusing the finds of a cloud survey released last week, I thought about these first-hand experiences, and what it means to run things in the cloud. Namely, I believe we’re reaching a point in which many people are unaware that they may be using cloud applications, and it simply doesn’t matter. And I wonder if even the most detailed surveys are capturing the true depth of cloud engagements.

The survey of 1,257 executives, conducted by Evolve IP, finds that the average company now has about 2.7 services in the cloud. Even those executives who are holding out, the “non-believers,” as the survey’s authors describe them, have an average of 1.4 services in the cloud.

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Cloud computing has changed how executives look at technology.

They want to embrace the emerging trends of big data and analytics, mobile computing and social business, yet they still need to deal with their existing information technology investments. For these executives, the cloud provides a quick and easy way to implement business process changes and find new ways to engage with customers.

Cloud offers a platform for the kind of tech experimentation, rapid development and distribution that used to be the province of the IT department. All of which means that at a time when corporate IT budgets are tied up in operations and maintenance, other business managers are turning to cloud computing to expand their businesses.

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New research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services shows the connection between the use of cloud computing and increased business agility and competitive advantage. The research, which was sponsored by Verizon Enterprise Solutions, surveyed 527 Harvard Business Review readers from large and mid-size organizations around the world. The goal was to understand what businesses and government organizations think about cloud and how that thinking impacts adoption and perceived value of cloud.

There were a number of interesting findings. Here are just a few data points:

  • 70% have adopted cloud computing
  • 71% expect cloud to reduce complexity in their business
  • 74% say cloud has provided competitive advantage
  • 71% think cloud will reduce business complexity

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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) may serve a minor role in legacy 911 systems, but it will be an integral part of the next-generation technologies. The sooner 911 professionals realize this and start preparing, the smoother their transition to a next-generation 911 system will be, according to panelists at the recent Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) conference.

“In the legacy 911 world, many of us felt that GIS was the map that was on our screen, and as long as the map was there and the roads were connected, we were happy with that,” said Sean Petty, director of technology practice at Mission Critical Partners and a former public-safety answering point (PSAP) director. “GIS, to some PSAPs, was a supporting application.

“As we shift focus to the future, GIS will become the hero in the next-generation 911 world and the basis for a lot of what happens. It’s really shifting the role from being a supporting role to being perhaps the heart and soul of call routing and many of the other functions. We’re shifting into this hugely geospatial world.”

But the role GIS will play does not begin and end with call routing, said Anna Hastings of AT&T. GIS also will help with location validation—similar to what the Master Street Address Guide (MSAG) does for legacy 911—and determining the appropriate responding agencies, she said.

“GIS becomes absolutely critical and foundational as we move into the future,” Hastings said.

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