C4ISR stands for Command, Control, Communications, Computing, Intelligence, Security and Reconnaissance. It was formulated by the US Department of Defense (DoD) in response to the need to evolve a mechanism for integrating and acting on combat information coming from various sources, geographies, and using different types of media.
A C4ISR System can be thought of as a framework for organizing multi-media information emanating from a situation (typically a crisis), in a manner that enables non-local users to analyze such information (from multiple sources); act on that information or advise local players on actions to be taken; receive feedback from local players on actions taken; based on which a follow-up set of actions or advice can be initiated, towards the objective of resolving the situation to the advantage of the users.
Traffic management systems
C4ISR has been adapted, from its military origins, for Homeland Security given the similarity in the situations faced by a city reeling from a terrorist strike or a major conflagration, and an army battalion in hostile action. Subsequently, the concept has been applied to systems that involve co-ordination among multiple agencies, function in an environment which is in a state of constant flux, and are given the responsibility of addressing crises (albeit not of the type resulting in major fatalities).
Traffic management systems in India have relied on components such as sensors
City-wide traffic management is one such system, internationally, where C4ISR concepts have been applied. Traditionally, traffic management systems in India have relied on components such as sensors, communication networks, control centers, response team.
New sensor technologies
Implementing a traffic management system on a C4ISR framework, will allow traffic managers to optimize the data coming in from existing sensors and field units, through fusion of the data on a visual representation of the city.
- Integration of sensor data streams in the GIS - Traffic managers will be able to integrate surveillance and enforcement camera feeds into the Traffic Management GIS. Typically, such a GIS will have an overlay consisting of traffic light junctions in the city, and key emergency features (hospitals, police stations, fire stations, etc.). Using a C4ISR application, camera feed from a specific traffic junction can be embedded in the GIS, so that a click on that traffic light icon, on the GIS, displays live video stream from the cameras positioned at that junction. This feature can be enabled for any sensor data stream.
- Integration of multi-media information in the EMS - Voice and data communications, from motorists and field units, can be fed into the C4ISR application and associated with an incident or location, so that clicking on that incident/location, brings up all recorded information associated with that incident/location. This Common Operational Picture (COP) approach to analyzing situations is unique to C4ISR solutions.
- Multiple communications protocols communicating seamlessly - Patches between multiple communications protocols (GSM, CDMA, U/V/HF, PSTN, Tetra, etc.) seamlessly, thereby allowing traffic teams to communicate with the TMC and amongst themselves using a variety of communication Also patches motorists, providing eye-witness information, communication to relevant field units.
- Broadcast traffic control messages/signals in real-time - Co-ordinate output to a VMS, traffic signals (if they can be centrally controlled), and citizen database (SMSes regarding traffic jams, etc.) within a short time of the occurrence of an emergency. Databases can be linked to the C4ISR application, so that specific actions can be performed on a database.
- Blue force tracking for field units - Optionally, provide GPS-enabled devices to all or key traffic personnel/response teams so that real-time monitoring of response to emergencies is possible. The GPS devices allow field units to be mapped on the GIS in real-time.
- Risk & action protocols - Co-ordinate response to traffic problems and other emergencies (that may create traffic problems or may be exacerbated by traffic problems) in a planned manner, using all the media tools available to the crisis response team. SOPs can be defined for various situations and entered in the C4ISR application, so that when an emergency occurs, even inexperienced personnel can take control.
- Integrate new sensor technologies as they are introduced - With increasing traffic and larger road networks, more sophisticated sensors will need to be deployed: traffic radar sensors, single/double loop detectors, etc. A C4ISR solution will allow data feeds from these sensors to be integrated with those from existing sensors.
Mistral offers a range of C4ISR solutions for Homeland Security needs in India. These solutions will allow traffic managers to further leverage existing investments in sensors and IT, towards making the roads safer and traffic smoother.