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With over 60 technology supporters and 300 participating organizations including universities and public safety agencies, RAINS-Net is linking 911 emergency response centers with local public safety stakeholders such as schools, hospitals and office buildings.
"RAINS is a response to national security mobilization by helping to accelerate the adoption of technology into the homeland security sector," says Charles Jennings, president and CEO of Swan Island Networks and a key backer of RAINS.
The 1.0 version of RAINS-Net disseminates emergency incident response alerts to cell phones and personal computers of participating organizations. For example, if police are dispatched to someone threatening with a gun in the neighborhood of a school, the school principal is notified that the incident is in progress. Or if a fire were reported within blocks of a subscribing building manager, that building manager would be notified that fire trucks have been dispatched.
Swan Island's Swarm product with roots in digital rights management is a component of RAINS-Net, as is data integrity and intrusion detection software functionality from Tripwire, network operations management from FORTiX and data translation from Centerlogic.
"Our mission is to create a Web services registry of products within RAINS-Net, that could be checked off in a menu fashion," by an organization that wanted to participate. Future work may extend RAINS-Net with secure email and stronger authentication. "We envision this as a growing menu of products and services that are pre-integrated, pre-priced and pre-packaged for local government," Jennings says.
The price for municipalities to participate in RAINS-Net is likely to be in the $500,000 to $2 million range, depending in the number of servers and how much information sharing is required. The backers of RAINS-Net are eying some $2.8 billion the Office of Domestic Preparedness has announced will be given out in grants to the states, with 80% likely to go to cities.