Integrated Planning - Distributed Training
Calytrix's Exercise and Operations Network (EON) is an integrated suite of software tools supporting the planning, execution and measurement of collective training events. Following the philosophy of 'train as you will operate', EON allows the same tools used in training to be used in support of live operations over a distributed network.
Drawing on lessons from Military Command and Control (C2) and training systems, and the Disaster Response and Management communities, EON has been specifically designed to support collaborative distributed exercises and operations in the following target areas:
- Team & Collective Emergency Management and Response
- Peace Keeping and other military/civilian integration events
- Multi-Agency collaboration exercises and operations
- Disaster planning and response
- Global Command & Control (C2) response and logistics planning and management
Calytrix EON meets the need for an exercise and operations management system in a more cost effective and approachable manner than legacy heavyweight military C2 environments, while still readily integrating with those systems to support civil/military and inter-agency emergency management collaboration.
[EON] was much more real than I expected. We need this kind of exercise.
The EON Story
Calytrix EON provides an affordable option for Emergency Management and Humanitarian Assistance organisations who need exercise and operations management planning and simulation capability. The prime drivers behind the development of EON have been:
- Affordability: Maximising the use of open source software to minimise initial purchase, maintenance and configuration costs,
- Intuitiveness: Provide a user friendly intuitive interface which encourages use by all levels of an organisation and reduces system training overheads,
- Extendability: Provide an end-to-end exercise and operations management capability while still encouraging integration with existing C2, simulation or training management systems,
- Interoperability: Provide a system that easily integrates with existing exercise and C2 systems through the use of common standards, and
- Robustness: Recognising that the nature of emergency management and humanitarian operations means that wider connectivity is never guaranteed, the system can operate from a single computer or on a local area network with the ability to synchronise data later when wider connectivity is re-established.
Recognising the need for an affordable training and simulation capability, the United Nations World Food Programme now fields Calytrix EON as the prime software solution under the Disaster Management Interoperability Simulation and Training (DeMIST) program. Using the EON suite, Calytrix has developed the DeMIST software for the WFP which is now in use across Asia and Africa as part of the WFP's Readiness Initiative.
WFP CO readiness was enhanced. The exercise was well received by all participating staff who felt that time dedicated to practicing emergency preparedness was time well spent.
Today, EON and DeMIST support multi-agency exercises in Asia which increase the ability of numerous UN, government and non-government aid agencies to effectively plan for and respond to a range of disasters.
Key EON Components
The EON suite of tools consists of three core components:
EON Web provides and facilitates communications and data exchange including:
- Web access and external links,
- Live and simulated news events and field reports,
- An integrated exercise Email system or integration with existing systems,
- A shared document repository and media sharing system area,
- An integrated knowledge base which can be linked to corporate knowledge bases,
- The ability to collaboratively (same time) develop and publish pre-formatted planning and response documents, SITREPs, etc.,
- Integrated forums and chat rooms,
- Exercise and organizational Email/Phone book lists, and
- Voice over Internet capabilities.
EON Globe, also known as the Common Operating Picture, is a collaborative 3D graphical mapping system providing situational awareness and promoting collaboration in both connected and disconnected environments. Key features include:
- 3D visualization of the world based on NASA’s open source World Wind viewer,
- Create and share graphical overlays in real-time,
- accept and display information feeds including common KML/KMZ, DIS and HLA formats as well as data modelling from a range of sources including any available GIS mapping service,
- accept and display existing disaster alerts such as flood, storm, fire and earthquake data,
- Represent live or simulated news feeds,
- Show info from the field in the form of spot reports as well as live tracking of people and assets using GPS enabled devices over telephone or satellite networks,
- Add and share information pins and attach reports, photos, videos, etc.,
- Quickly run population queries of affected areas and provide automated population profiles,
- manage movement and distribution of assets and logistics using an integrated simulation engine (SimEngine) as well as predictive impacts such as supply depletion and impact on affected populations, and
- Fast forward the SimEngine in time, or backup and restore to a previous state.
Calytrix Mentor, provides EON with an integrated training management and readiness assessment system which provides:
- An exercise design framework which allows exercise activities to be clearly linked and measured against desired training outcomes
- Distributed access to exercise schedules, injects and assessment systems
- Integration with the EON Web and Globe to provide automated management and delivery of exercise injects (injected information) resulting in a significantly reduced exercise management overhead
- Capture and collation of training and operational outcomes which can be presented in near real time reports supporting exercise review, after action reviews, training audience feedback as well as operational lessons learnt, and
- Integrated with the EON Portal events log, and reconstruction of all exercise or operational events including Email, voice communications, injects and taskings.
Multiple Tools, Common Infrastructure
Recognising the need for shared awareness at various levels, Calytrix EON uniquely shares a common HTTP database which ensures that information can be viewed and interrogated in a number of ways: through reports, documents, forums, etc. in the EON Web or displayed and shared graphically through the EON Globe. The accuracy and relevance of information is assured because it is drawn from a common correlated database and allows users to interrogate information through an intuitive graphical interface or through a web/document based format.
The use of HTML as a means of sharing information between the EON components also ensures that the system can be rapidly integrated with existing information management systems.
Command and Control Integration
Also integral to true collaboration was the ability to integrate with existing C2 and simulation systems. EON was packaged with Calytrix's established LVC Game product which allowed transfer of data between the EON simulation engine and well known simulation systems such as JSAF, OneSAF and BI Simulation's VBS.
This level of integration ensures that EON provides unprecedented levels of collaboration as a Civil-Military capability.
Calytrix recognises that the very nature of the Emergency Management and Humanitarian assistance environments means that persistent wide area connectivity cannot be guaranteed; indeed it is unlikely. With this in mind, EON allows for persistent operational use from a single machine, to a local area network (LAN) up to a wide area network (WAN) or utilising the internet to connect and share information.
Central to this capability is EON's capacity to store information locally and to automatically synchronise when wider area networks become available. This ensures that EON remains a practical and usable environment regardless of the level of connectivity available.