Maturing Businesses and Web Standards
Hi Rex: I take the note about dearth of support in the emergency systems, aka, public safety, for standards to heart. Only your indulgence enables me to monitor those lists. My response is slightly different here. As I said to your team members in DC last year, my issue is that there isn't enough representation by major public safety vendors, and I certainly do include my own company. The problem with standards here is that the customer is waking up to the vital interests of standards as a source of interoperability before the vendors, so the maturity problem rests with vendors. Anyone should have understood what 9/11 meant to this industry but it is a highly fragmented marketplace both by economic tiers and by local/state/federal/tribal relationships. In effect, it isn't really one market and that has to change by commoditization. We find ourselves bidding state reports, local reports, and highly local work processes with huge RFPs from small and large agencies that do not reckon with the actual costs of the systems they are trying to procure. In fact, aside from hardware, we should be bidding based on reference IEPs (Information Exchange Packages) and common web services. An agency should be able to purchase a dispatch system, a police, fire or emergency services records system and a jail and court management system without obscenely high costs for integration. We aren't there yet but at the very least, the vendors are waking up because the RFPs are starting to ask the right questions. Now it is a positioning game. I doubt we are the only business segment with this problem, but we are the one that has to solve it right soon, and that means realistic RFPs for systems that can be upgraded cost effectively toward eventual NIEMs-based systems. The fact of the sudden but predictable emergence of very large sensor arrays into this market makes it harder. On the other hand, we know how. len
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