July 27, 2008

Situational Awareness and Enterprise Architecture

EA is a tool for situational awareness and planning to drive modernization, transformation, and improved results. Enterprise architecture helps us as organizations to be more aware of our business and technology resources, desired outcomes, and ways to link resources/investments to results.

As far as mankind can remember, we have always looked to plan ahead to manage change and complexity. In the times of the pharaohs, people looked to the stars for a sign of what was to come. In past centuries, others have looked into the crystal ball to foretell events and plan accordingly. To many, these rudimentary methods were all they had to gain a semblance control over their lives and a world that probably felt very out of control much of the time.

Now the military has a crystal ball all of its own to deploy to the battleground to provide better situational awareness to our troops, and this is particularly helpful for identifying the enemy in close urban combat, as that which we find ourselves fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, now-a-days.

National Defense Magazine, March 2008, reports that ODF Optronics, a technology company in Tel Aviv, Israel has developed an eye-ball surveillance system “which consists of a hardened sphere that houses a sophisticated camera system and comes with a wireless display unit. Durable eye ball can be thrown over walls, into streets, tunnels, houses, or any other place of interest. Once the sphere hits the ground it establishes a 360-degree video image of the surrounding area and feeds it to operators holding the small display unit. It also features audio and day/night sensors.”

Other models like the omni-directional system, “is a sensor platform that is housed inside a hardened pole that can be mounted on top of a vehicle. It provides a 360-degree field of view for the crew inside…A five camera system is housed inside the cylindrical structure that transmits video images to a rugged laptop sitting inside the vehicle.”

ODF is now working with the DoD technical support working group and DARPA developing new sensors, because they “understood that military forces need to see the world around them.” But the truth is with all need to see the world around us with ever more comprehensive views, better resolution and clarity of image, and enhanced processing to understand what we are seeing. Only with this type of situational awareness are we better able to plan and respond to the world around us.

Like the ODF eye-ball for high-tech military surveillance and reconnaissance, our organizations need the ability to capture and analyze information and develop what Danny Nadri, a retired Israeli Air Force captain calls “quick actionable information.” And enterprise architecture is one important tool to provide us this situational awareness and planning capability.


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