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MMS, ABS Info Integration Project Wins ARPA Funding

The Integrated Shipboard Information Technology (ISIT) Platform project has been selected for fundng by the Department of Defense's Advance Research Projects Agency (ARPA), and the project is now in | ievelopment. ISIT is a $3.8 million, 18-month project undertaken by a ;eam of seven firms and headed by Vlarine Management Systems of Stamford, Conn.

The ISIT Platform will provide a ihipboard information and communication base that, for the first time, will integrate the various "islands of information" that exist onboard modrn commercial ships, into one cenral and accessible database. Alhough significant amounts of imortant management and technical ata exist in the navigation, cargo nd machinery control systems, this ata has been unavailable from a (single shipboard source and therefore is largely unavailable to shorebased management while the ship is at sea. ISIT will also provide a standard open architecture platform to run shipboard software and will include a standard data satellite communications path to shore systems.

|The trends in the maritime industry brmore complex ships, smaller crews nd dramatically increased regulatory requirements are all converging to create a critical and urgent need for the ISIT platform.

"Industry consensus standards for data transfer are a critical ingredient in the ISIT project, and there is remendous interest from shipowners and operators," according toEu- :ene D. Story, president of MMS nd chairman of the American Soci- :ty for Testing and Materials (ASTM) orking group that will be responsible for developing the standards.

In addition, the American Bureau of Shipping will develop guidelines for shipboard data management systems as part of the project.

The ISIT development team consists of seven companies, each a leader in its field, and each contribu t i n g in its area of specialization. MMS, a provider of ship-to-shore communications and shipboard operations management software, will act as the project leader. Ultimateast Data Communications will provide satellite communications technolog y gies, including development of a Virtual Earth Station. Radix Systems will contribute maritime systems testing, integration and project management. ABS Marine Services, an affiliate of the American Bureau of Shipping, will develop standards and implementation guidelines. General Electric Marine Systems will contribute to the development of standard data interfaces to machinery and cargo control systems. M.

Rosenblatt & Son, naval architects and marine engineers, will provide shipboard design and installation services, coordinate the shipboard installation, and work to develop dual use (commercial and military) applications of the technology. In addition, an advisory board, consisting of principal ship operating companies, shipyards and satellite communications companies, will support the project and provide critical comment and review.

ARPA announced in May the selection of 24 new projects for negotiations as a result of the FY 1995 Maritech competition. Now in its second year, the five-year Maritech program is a federal effort to develop and apply advanced technology to improve the competitiveness of the U.S. shipbuilding industry and thereby preserve the capability for Navy ship construction. Maritech is matching industry investments with federal funds on a competitive basis to develop and implement technologies and advanced processes to increase the competitiveness of ship design, marketing, construction and support.

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