NIEM in November

The AEGIS Developers Integration Lab (DIL) originated based on the need for testing interoperability and standards conformance for health IT systems. As the DIL has matured it has proven itself more than able to provide this service across disciplines.  Our challenge now is to determine – of the many verticals currently in need of such a solution – where the DIL can do the most good.  To that end, we recently attended the second annual “NIEM in November” event in Washington, DC. The National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) is a framework which enables organizations to efficiently and effectively exchange information in real time with their partners to enable them to deliver on their missions. Having originated in the Justice and Public Safety industries, NIEM is now widely used in the United States, and its adoption is growing in Canada, Mexico, and Europe.

Donna Roy, NIEM’s Executive Director, and Kshemendra Paul, Program Manager of Information Sharing Environment (ISE), led a majority of the discussions by “emphasizing that communities coming together to share information is what continues to make NIEM strong.” The event highlighted the 2014 Best of NIEM awards to State and local teams. We learned about Project Interoperability (PI) and other ISE efforts underway.

With regard to the technology, our team was intrigued by the large number of NIEM-based Nlets exchange implementations across DoJ organizations and States, use of XML, and specifically the discussions around user adoption and challenges of NIEM. Nlets’ XML implementation allows users to specify message format (legacy text, GJXDM, NIEM) per ORI, per message key while Nlets transforms all messages traversing systems into recipient’s specified format before sending. Some of the challenges we noticed include the variety of technologies within the user community, complex structure to allow for gradual adoption, transformation between multiple formats through multiple protocols, and storage and auditing.

Most significantly, Nlets identified one of their major challenges as ensuring that a robust testing platform is available for early adopters to test against.  Hey, now that sounds familiar – this is exactly what the AEGIS DIL was built to support! Joining Nlets prior to being ready means organizations incur undue expense in the form of membership dues and fees, along with the entire formal onboarding process. The right testing platform will help ensure organizations are fully prepared before they reach the onboarding step.

We’ve certainly done our homework on NIEM.  We understand the development and implementation of the Springboard program – and how it compares to the AEGIS DIL. We have also considered the use and implementation of the current NIEM Tools Catalog (Beta Version). Our folks have downloaded and reviewed the NIEM 3.0 release package, which contains all of the relevant XML schemas. Now that we’ve started to engage with the NIEM community, we’ll soon be able to provide an assessment of where and how the DIL can play effectively in this space.

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