The STAIR4SECURITY CBRN Survey – Insights and Key Considerations

On the 28th October 2020, the STAIR4SECURITY team ran a poll on the @Stair4Security Twitter account. The statement read:

Interoperability between CBRN innovations is weak due to a lack of appropriate standards or best practice guidance on what interfaces and protocols innovation development should be met.

The result from the survey was as follows:

Agree:  88% – Disagree:  12%

The poll was designed and written in such a way as to raise awareness on the importance of interoperability for EU research results outputs particularly for these sectors.  It is true that innovation research in the European Civil Protection CBRN sector may not be as well advanced as other sectors. Another aspect for topical discussion is standardisation and the negative perception of standardisation by CBRN practitioners which has been substantiated by other Horizon 2020 project in the field, such as ENCIRCLE.

The development of semantic and interoperability definitions and the Application Programming Interfaces (API) between important platforms could make a significant contribution to improve result take up on a wider scale given that a common information space is established, enabling important data to be shared between the platforms.

Such an undertaking would strengthen sustainability and greater exploitation potential beyond the life of a project. Maintainability and replicability are critical too. Allowing for GDPR rules, the undertaking would enable key information on various security innovative platforms to be shared with the relevant parties and this would contribute positively to the impact of innovative research outputs for the CBRN and DRR communities. The resulting outcomes thereafter would better support the effectiveness of first responders, emergency medical services personnel and civil protection specialists in CBRN incidents.

By having defined the common information space, future related research and innovation platforms emerging from the Horizon Europe Framework comply with the best practice API specifications and thus, enable harmonised communication between future platforms.

Three related projects have embraced this understanding are NO-FEAR, ENCIRCLE, STAIR4SECURITY.

Patricia Compard, French Ministry of Interior and CEN TC 391 Chairperson, is the WP2 Leader in the STAIR4SECURITY project. Patricia asserts that benefits of interoperability are built on coordination of policy makers and first responders. Furthermore, innovation supported by a portfolio of appropriate standards would be a tremendous achievement and realisation and would significantly enhance the effectiveness of first responders, the efficiency of policies implemented and the optimisation of investments.

Interoperability has to be built and maintained by all stakeholders involved (policy makers and first responders, facilities managers, solutions providers, researchers, and NGOs, etc.) to be effective.

The STAIR4SECURITY pre-standardisation enabling platform provides tools, data and data-building capabilities to the DRR/CBRN community. It enables them to build a comprehensive picture in order to develop and maintain interoperability of processes, language, equipment, tools, systems or data. This platform is market-driven and developed by experts in order to address policy-maker and first-responder’ needs. It allows all stakeholders and projects (e.g ENCIRCLE, NO-FEAR, FIRE-IN, INCLUDING, TERRIFFIC and DAREnet) to interact and evaluate their outcomes in the STAIR4SECURITY digital environment.

from an ENCIRCLE perspective, interoperability remains a primary challenge for the Civil Protection CBRN domain as well as the Civil Protection domain in general. It is most encouraging that collectively, it is being addressed through good collaboration between the three European projects and their respective platforms.’

Clive Goodchild (BAE Systems and the ENCIRCLE Project Coordinator)

The STAIR4SECURITY platform enables practitioners and policy makers to develop a multi-stakeholder and transverse approach for optimal preparedness and response within the DRR/CBRN sector. It was designed with input and support from many related H2020 projects, such as PROACTIVE, eNOTICE, NO-FEAR, FIRE-IN, INCLUDING and DAREnet and it applies a governance single entry point to support research, innovation and standardisation. This makes the STAIR4SECURITY platform a very market-driven, end user-oriented entity. The platform covers many related aspects such as resource management, communities and network interactions. Interoperability capability is a key part of the intelligent platform design.

It is our belief that a later version of the platform could be extended to other related topics, such as Critical Infrastructure Protection, Border security, the Fight against organised crime and terrorism, and forensics. This requires more work via tasks, data, use-cases capture and much more cross-fertilisation with related projects and policy maker engagement.

The significance of sharing common data to effectively communicate sets a tone for how future related security research and innovation platforms should be delivered. STAIR4SECURITY is catalyst for interoperability within the DRR/CBRN standardization sphere and we look forward to strengthening this community through IT optimisation and continuous engagement.

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