Swarming: A new model of collaboration
- By Brian Robinson
- Jun 21, 2004
Rather than have an overarching authority decide what information will be distributed and who will receive it, the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) will operate based on a concept known as "swarming."
The Army originally developed the technique to allow separate units in the field to connect directly to one another to coordinate attacks, rather than go through a central command structure. Swarming has been shown to drastically cut the time needed to respond to a given situation.
"Each person [involved in responding to a situation] has their own version of the [virtual] work space on their computer, so that one person could be looking at files while another is looking at photos and e-mailing at the same time," said Dave Fowler, vice president of marketing and business development at Groove Networks Inc. The company's peer-to-peer technology is used in HSIN. "It allows you to see who is in that virtual work space and allows you to speak with them."
A more centralized method would take too much time in setting up communications, verifying and adding people to teams. Instead, the plan for HSIN is to allow people to swarm around a notification of an event that appears on their systems, Fowler said.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.