When a Tornado ripped through Kansas little did Dorothy know that she’d be confronted by a magnitude of perceived threats that tested the magical land of Oz. The year was 1939, a lion, a scarecrow, a tinman, a kid from mid-America, and a dog named “Toto” somehow worked together to share information and overcome the adversity and threats they faced.

Back then, fixing problems could be as simple as clicking your ruby slippers together. In today’s world the concept of home is a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more complex. Home is an interconnected network; a person sick in China can impact local communities on the other side of the world. We share a global responsibility to share information, help keep each other safe, and ultimately care for one another as neighbors. Where do we start?

A Road to Interoperability

In 2014, DataCapable followed the Yellow Brick Road down to Washington DC to attend an event focused on the interoperability of data. A core focus was on how a dynamically different group of individuals and organizations could come together to solve a real threat to society. Siloed data in an interconnected World has real impacts; safety, disaster response, humanitarian aid, resilience, critical infrastructure, supply chain, etc.

Six years ago an evolution started, a slow, methodical, initiative. Designed to re-envision how data, standards, and communities can and should align around the tenants of safety. It started with a single use case and the success of this interoperability story has profound implications. The use case and history are a story for another day (future Zpyrme article with Seattle City Light), the results are proven. Interoperability isn’t hard.

Data Interoperability Is the Proverbial Key to Emerald City

Unfortunately, in 2020 we didn’t land in Munchkin Town, and there’s no protagonist to point us in the exact direction to Emerald City. This was especially true during the recent tornados, power outages, and ongoing pandemic across Easter Weekend 2020. Now, more than ever before does society require the standardization of threats. Machine-readable, realtime, with location, magnitude, type of event, response, and additional considerations. These standards must exist to empower nearly every industry, individual, and government organization to come together and tackle these challenges together. This area of research is one that I hold especially true to heart; I’m a father of two young boys, have supported big brothers, heavily involved in youth sports, and my wife most-recently supported the school board. I believe in the power of collaboration at all levels.

“Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t you think” ~ Scarecrow

So how could we build a World that couldn’t share all this threat data in real-time? It’s easy to point the finger of blame, “the Wicked Witch of the West did it, no wait, it was the flying monkeys”, and focus on the problems vs. the solution. The reality is, it’s not about hiding behind curtains or pretending we are something we are not. It’s about coming together and doing what is right. It is time to take the next step in the journey of interoperability. Accelerate and expand the standardization of all threats. Create systematic processes to share data. And while “There’s No Place Like Home” (especially during a pandemic), I’m asking each reader of this article to get involved in how we can support this initiative.