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Creating a common, secure, integrated and shared operational picture


In a world, where fast internet dominates, the concept of users with poor connectivity, information stuck in silos and lack of access because of security concerns seems alien.

Yet, there are users, groups and organisations that face these challenges as part of their operational role. These we call the Disadvantaged Platforms.

Too much of the wrong information and not enough of what we need to know. Complex data in rigid, un-integrated silos. No common operational picture. People depending on process and let down by systems.

Where deployment of thick, bandwidth hungry applications and databases spend vital and limited network connectivity, synchronising unimportant background data, rather than sending the priority, mission critical message.

Where security concerns means no access instead of managed and controlled access.

In Defence, Security and the Emergency Service responders worlds, users face these operational challenges on a daily basis.

Creating a common, secure, integrated operational picture that can be shared with allies and partners is the challenge that Openkast addresses.


Openkast has been working with the UK Ministry of Defence in a joint US/UK programme to allow such Disadvantaged Platforms to dramatically improve their data integration, information assimilation and situational awareness.

Initially focusing on submarine command and control, the programme is highly relevant to any group that has neither the bandwidth nor the processing and analytical capability to manage large, complex datasets.

This would include special forces, remote forward operating bases, diplomatic missions in inhospitable regions of the world or distant, local offices for global organisations.


Openkast, working in close partnership with a large Systems Integrator, developed a solution for the submarine command and control environment that was deployed during 2008. The system architecture was created to overcome the problems of any platform or group not being permanently connected to the command and control network.

The system was integrated within an existing message handling capability and allowed the host systems to believe the platform was connected, avoiding the need to replicate system admin data when eventually connected. This saved considerable connection time.

The platform was given its own information reference library prior to being deployed. This we call the Mission Catalogue. This system contains background intelligence information about the operational environment being entered and is updated with message traffic from the HQ based Situational Warehouse.

The Situational Warehouse sends up to date operational message traffic that has been intercepted, analysed, stored and forwarded using automated rule based profiles as well as, where appropriate, manual intervention.

Messages can be gisted, sent as plain text or redacted of image or other binary attachments. This means that the platform can, on seeing title or part of context of message, can reach back and request the transmission of all of the data.

This improves throughput to the platform considerably and allows the operational command as well as the operator to decide on the best and most important information priorities.

None of the data is lost. All is stored in the Openkast repositories and available for search and retrieval.