Mobile Collaboration in Multi-Security Level Domains

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N00014-03-M-0334
Agency Tracking Number: N033-0279
Amount: $65,799.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2003
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
5068 West Plano Parkway, Suite 336, Plano, TX, 75093
DUNS: 102675365
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Kevin Henson
 (972) 738-8579
Business Contact
 J. Patrick Robinson
Title: President
Phone: (972) 738-8576
Research Institution
 Subbarayan Venkatesan
 Dept. of Computer Science, EC31
Richardson, TX, 75083
 (972) 883-2452
 Nonprofit college or university
Asier will provide a collaboration tool with 2-way text messaging, file and image transfer, and limited voice capability over a secure, low-bandwidth connection.The Navy will benefit from wireless communication tools that act like a hybrid between e-mail and real time chat, storing messages, still images and video clips with an easy-to-use retrieval method. A new collaboration suite can be developed and fieldedto operate on existing networks (with very limited bandwidth and intermittent connections) while simultaneously supporting multiple security levels.Asier's feasibility study proposes to provide in-line compression of text to accommodate low-bandwidth factor, provide embedded Asier multilevel encryption software to protect information transmitted across different levels of security classification, andprovide encryption key management system to accommodate multiple security domains.The feasibility study will evaluate product designs that will accommodate limited audio transmittals with the ability to send still images or video clips and include a journalizing file system that will store and send messages collected during times ofinterruption. Instant text messages can be time-coded so that all missed messages would be re-sent when the user reconnected. User interface designs will be simple to use and ranked against Navy objectives. The use of Instant Messaging (IM) is growing exponentially in many segments of our society. Teenagers use it to chat. Many corporations use it for internal, instant communications. Cell phones with IM capabilities are the latest rage. With theappearance lately of digital cameras on cell phones, still photos can also be instantly sent. Instant video conferencing on cell phones and PDAs will no doubt be a reality in the near future. While these technologies can be easily implemented to satisfythe teen-age user market (which in itself is a large market), serious issues such as band-width constraints and security must be addressed to satisfy commercial, government, or military users. The successful implementation of this technology will resolvethose issues.Secure instant messaging with low-data-rate audio, as described in this proposal, is needed today by the Navy, the other branches of the military, and the US Government not far behind. While no market data is readily available, this technology will findmany uses in the public safety, law enforcement, homeland defense and medical environments.Not surprisingly, all of these market opportunities are closely related and have needs very similar to the Navy's that cannot be addressed adequately with products currently available. Police officers, firemen and customs agents all have to work inenvironments where wide-band wireless connectivity is typically unavailable and the connectivity that is there (CDMA, TDMA cell phone) is prone to interruptions as these personnel move into and out of structures that block transmissions. The command andcontrol issues in the public safety sector closely parallel those of the military establishment. These public safety applications need security that is superior to the currently available standards (WEP) but perhaps not as much as the Navy. Anticipatingthis need, Asier has developed a lower-security version of the multilevel encryption algorithm that could be used for commercial sales to non-DOD clients.Other commercial areas where this technology might be applicable are in medical and financial records. Under the new Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the secure handling of sensitive personal information, whether medical orfinancial, will be required. Doctors are more and more beginning to use wireless devices to carry with them on their rounds, or to have ready access to a patient's records. Downloading patient information wirelessly will need to be encrypted. This willbe especially important as telemedicine inevitably grows in response to market demands to control the rising cost of healthcare. To that end, Asier has on-going dialogue with several healthcare systems and system integrators regarding the use of Asierencryption to help protect their valuable data.Without further modification, this technology has potentially significant applications in public safety. Portable command-and-control stations, with wireless connectivity to first-responders in the event of an emergency, will require secure and instantcommunications.Many of the senior research staff and administration at UTD have strong ties to many of the world leaders in communications and information technology. Dr. Feng the head of the Graduate Research Program (and organizer of this effort) was formerly a VPwith SAIC. UTD has the strong desire and connections to spin off and commercialize technologies developed with their assistance.Asier, with the assistance of the UTD commercialization expertise and resources, will develop comprehensive plans to address each of these potentially huge markets.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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