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Army networthiness certification for Barco CMS

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: 07 January, 2010  (New Product)
The Control Room Management Suite from Barco gains CoN certification from the US Army enabling the product to be further used within the Army’s command IT infrastructure
The US Army's Network Technology Command has awarded a Certificate of Networthiness (CoN) to Barco's Control Room Management suite (CMS).

When it comes to installing vendor software onto its IT networks, “good” isn't good enough for the US Army. As one of the world's most security conscious organizations, Army regulations mandate that prior to installation, all outside software must meet stringent standards for security, supportability, sustainability, and compatibility. Now, with the awarding of this CoN, Barco joins a select group of vendors and products possessing the highest quality criteria required to meet Army software regulations.

Built on the foundation of a robust, centralized, high-speed content server, Barco's CMS suite enables users to create “perspectives” comprised of desktop or enterprise applications, video, data, web feeds and streaming media, and to share those perspectives among any workstation or display on the facility's network. The system's speed is maximized by its ability to convert all inputs to IP (Internet Protocol), eliminating the need for expensive analogue routers, and thus providing a common data format that's easy to share and distribute.

The CMS certification process evolved from the opening of the Army's new 7th Signal Command Headquarters, based at Ft. Gordon, Georgia, which provides information management capabilities for US military assets throughout the continental United States. To implement the visual display systems in the new headquarters, the Army selected Technical Innovation's Critical Space Solutions (CSS) as the prime contractor and system designer/integrator. According to Technical Innovations Senior Account Manager Jonathon Reany, his company's selection of CMS as the system's software foundation was obvious and immediate. “We actually wrote our project spec around the CMS at the very start because we knew, from prior installations, that it would be the best choice for this project,” Reany said. “Based on our recommendation, the Army was willing to sponsor the extensive certification process.”

Central to 7th Signal Command operations is a large control room facility at Ft. Gordon, where information of many types (data, voice, graphics, satellite feeds, teleconferences, and classified sources), are received, evaluated, organized and shared among qualified personnel. This multitude of converging data streams creates the need for a robust, flexible and secure method for routing signals to destination monitors. With its unique capabilities to “collect, control and collaborate,” Barco's exclusive CMS suite offered a superior solution to the Army's requirements. “Through this CoN, the US Army has indicated that Barco's CMS software is good enough and secure enough for use on one of their principal classified enterprise level networks,” explained Pat Sweeney, Federal Government Market Manager for Barco North America. “Specifically, this approval means that CMS suite is expected to be fully compliant to all their military STIGs (Security Technical Implementation Guidelines) and is pre-certified for loading directly onto their networks, pending testing by the integrator.” Sweeney added.

A big plus for the CMS suite is its ability to run on the Army's installed IT hardware without special modification. The software is, in effect, a cross platform collaborative tool that allows users to share content and visual information across standard IP infrastructures, regardless of operating system or platform. These characteristics make the CMS a particularly strong fit for the 7th Signal Command with its large, pre-existing IT hardware base. The CMS suite's inherent scalability to match future growth and user needs was also highly important to the Ft. Gordon installation. “When the government asked us to quote this project at Ft. Gordon, they were very interested in the software's capabilities to not only perform information sharing, but also the scalability it provided, noted Sweeney. “Because the CMS suite's design provides an inexpensive way of adding sources and destinations as you go forward, it's designed to be both backwards compatible towards standard analog AV architectures and forwards compatible towards network centric content sharing,” Sweeney further explained.

CMS's scalability goes hand-in-hand with long-term value, adds Tyler Bonner, director of Technical Innovation's CSS group, “CMS's scalability makes it an excellent cost-effective solution that fits today's way of thinking in terms of how people work. By that I mean it lets you access information, distribute information and collaborate on data in a real time fashion, with plenty of room to expand when necessary. That makes for a good long-term solution.” Bonner commented.

Now that it's officially certified for networthiness, the CMS is set for future installations within the US military's vast command IT infrastructure. With a seal of approval from this most demanding of customers, Barco is now primed to offer its powerful control room management solutions to other markets operating in secure or sensitive environments.
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