Monday, September 10, 2007

Web 2.0, SOA and mashups for front line military and medical applications

[The acronyms are getting a bit silly - Military 2.0, Medicine 2.0, Battlefield 2.0, etc. But the underlying application of Web 2.0, SOA and mashups to all sorts of endeavours continues unabated - and the impact remains significant on how these technologies will transform various aspects of business and society. Some excepts from NetworkWorld and a pointer from Richard Ackerman -- BSA] is not exactly “MySpace for war fighters," but it’s a Web site that invites frontline troops to post their ideas for improving the combat experience. Engineers and developers then use Web 2.0 techniques such as mashups and wikis to turn those ideas into reality.

Dozens of U.S. servicemen and women have so far posted submissions to the Web site since it was launched early in August. The ideas range from low tech to high tech: Creating a helmet-mounted mirror that lets a soldier see behind his back, for example, and a scheme for blocking the cell phone transmissions used to detonate roadside bombs.

Increasingly, many of these problems are being solved by applying Web 2.0 technologies, such as service-oriented architectures (SOA), wikis and social networking that can help compress the typical product development timetable.


The information battlefield

Integrating information and creating context for understanding is a recurring theme in problems and ideas percolating up from the field. One soldier described how difficult it is to find out what strike options to use against a potential target. Army units typically have to make separate cell phone calls, for example, to Navy, Air Force or Marine counterparts to discover what artillery or missile or aircraft assets are available. “That introduces tremendous delay,” says Loftus. “Often you have to make a [strike] decision before all those calls get completed.”

Gestalt used SOA tools and interfaces to pull information about available strike assets from the existing command and control systems of the different services, displaying the integrated data on a Web page. Now, an Army commander can see what options he has to strike a target, how long it will take for each to hit the target, and evaluate the results and affects of each weapon.

Medicine 2.0

I’m pretty sure that web 2.0, the new generation of web services, will (and already is playing) play an important role in the future of medicine. These web tools, expert-based community sites, medical blogs and wikis can ease the work of physicians, scientists, medical students or medical librarians.

We believe that the new generation of web services will change the way medicine is practiced and healthcare is delivered.

So I decided to collect sites, presentations and services that could be helpful for medical experts. I collaborate with Ves Dimov (at, Bob Coffield (at, Brian Jefferson and Ken Civello (at

I’ve had several opportunities to present my work in many clinics here in Debrecen, Hungary, but now I’m planning to search for universities around the world interested in a presentation like this one below. If you’re interested, just send me an e-mail to berci.mesko [at]

Medicine 2.0= web 2.0 + medicine