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Net-centric consortium proves 66 percent cost, time reduction in integrating industry labs

During three transatlantic laboratory demonstrations conducted earlier this year, eight Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium (NCOIC) member companies validated their team’s ability to cut, by 66 percent, the time and cost of integrating their lab infrastructure. Their documented approach is expected to make future demonstrations and experiments more feasible and less risky for other companies to execute on behalf of customers.

Working collaboratively across the Atlantic, Lockheed Martin, EADS, Boeing, Raytheon, IBM, Selex-Finmeccanica, Thales and Cisco linked ten industry labs to prove they could share a common operating picture of the 2010 Haitian crisis, in real time. To do so, they developed and applied a technical framework for lab interoperability that is based on an agreed set of processes and interfaces that any company or customer can use to replicate the process.

“Using NCOIC’s framework can lower the costs of industry teaming and reduce the time it takes them to get new products and services into the marketplace,” said Tip Slater, director of Virtual Operations, the Boeing Company. “Companies can now focus on developing tools and applications rather than reinventing infrastructure when they conduct collaborative modeling and simulation events such as demonstrations, tests or experiments.”

In addition to the framework, NCOIC’s lab interoperability team relied on commercial-off-the-shelf hardware, the public Internet and cloud computing to achieve time and cost savings. Encrypted tunneling technology, using virtual private networks, provided security and restricted access to participants only. Finally, the team reduced logistic footprints and eliminated many export issues by using equipment supplied by indigenous companies.

“Customers want products and systems that support military, emergency response and humanitarian workers’ need for information interoperability,” said team member Riccardo Massimelli, senior engineering manager of Selex-Finmeccanica. “Before interoperability can exist in a deployed environment it must first exist throughout the product development cycle, and that’s where lab interoperability comes into the picture.”

In depth descriptions of NCOIC’s lab interoperability framework, processes and patterns are available free of charge at www.ncoic.org.

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