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   Maturing Businesses and Web Standards

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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.



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