NEMA (the National Electrical Manufacturers Association) is embarking on a venture to develop a standard for homeland security systems, one that would contribute to protection of the nationâ€™s ports and borders and eventually help shape a market for scanning, detection, and security-related products.
A new standards development committee is being created to tie together a number of technologies that NEMAâ€™s member companies already make, including equipment for scanning, physical access control, video, intrusion, and explosives detection. While this technology already exists, a standard that allows these devices from different manufacturers to communicate with one another does not exist. Providing an environment in which there is a common language and a means of transmitting it to other locations is vital to the nationâ€™s national security interests.
NEMA is specifically proposing the development of a digital imaging and communication standard for the aforementioned technologies. The perfect model for a homeland security systems standard is at hand. The Medical Division of NEMA, representing a majority of the medical imaging equipment manufacturers, has developed the de facto worldwide standard, Digital Imaging and Communications In Medicine. DICOM has a number of virtues that would also benefit a homeland security standard:
- It is an open source system that can be used in Windows and Linux environments and conforms to interconnection standards set by the International Standards Organization. - It enables network and component integration in the sending and receiving of digital images and related information. - It covers most image formats. - Using DICOM as a model in developing a homeland security systems communications standard will save time and minimize start-up costs.
â€œNEMA has asked the Department of Homeland Security to lend its support to this project, and we expect that it will be forthcoming,â€ says NEMA President Evan Gaddis. â€œIn the meantime, it is imperative to move forward. Our experience with the DICOM standard shows that if we can occupy the space first, the world will follow.â€
While homeland security is the standardâ€™s primary focus at the moment, it may have broader applications in time.
NEMA is the trade association of choice for the electrical manufacturing industry. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its 430 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and use of electricity. These products are used in utility, medical, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential applications. Domestic production of electrical products sold worldwide exceeds $120 billion. In addition to its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia, NEMA also has offices in Beijing, Sao Paulo, and Mexico City.