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GCN : March 2013
22 GCN MARCH 2013 • GCN.COM FEATURE SMARTPHONE NETWORKS When it receives an image, HD4AR draws on a database of information to deliver annotated data to images on the phones. For example, with a photo of a piece of equipment HD4AR would locate a similar image in its database and then deliver attached data --- such as labels for the controls and perhaps a link to a user manual ---superimposed on the image on the cell phone. Or, a photo of a downtown street sent to HD4AR would return with buildings and stores identified. "The idea behind this project is to cre- ate a framework where, when there was a disaster, people who were trapped in different areas could be using their smart- phones to essentially provide situational awareness data to first responders or other citizen scientists in the area," White said. "It can be image data, taking pictures of things, in-capture audio, video, acceler- ometer data, these types of things." He said HD4AR is about capturing the data, geo-tagging it and having it central- ized in a location where first responders could look at it. HD4AR also is designed as a tool for construction sites, taking the place of all those design drawings. The information flow goes both ways, too. "Anybody can add to the database us- ing their phone," White said. "From those photos we will build a crude 3-D model. So when the user goes into the photo and begins annotating it, drawing in informa- tion, we then figure out where on the 3-D model those notes go. "When that information is saved in the database and when a new photo is taken --- with a completely different angle and orientation --- we can figure out which of those annotations that the first person created should be visible in the second person's photograph and then render them into that place in the photograph," he explained. The biggest challenge was to accom- modate the processing and matching of photos taken from different angles, at different times of day and with physi- cal changes over time. "We can tolerate As developers find more uses for increasingly powerful smartphones --- from acting as sensors that collect and process all kinds of data to situational awareness tools for first responders --- security inevitably becomes a concern. Agencies are touting the basic steps for securing smartphones, vendors are adding high degrees of physical and logical security, and government security standards have been updated to cover mobile devices. But greater functionality also could require a commensurate approach to keeping phones and data secure. In one case, developers are working on tools to use smartphone sensors --- which are being used in many of these new projects --- to keep them safe by triggering enforcement of security rules. Jules White, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech, is developing a security device to tell whether smartphones are in a specific room or context. The system, called OptioCore, is a customized overlay of the Android operating system that, when combined with OptioMDM mobile device management software, can set rules for when employees can access data, what data they can access, and whether they can take that data with them. "We were working on a system where it could automatically detect when you'd entered a specific room and give you access to specific information when you're in that room and, the moment that you left that room, [it would] ensure that none of that information was cached on your device," he said. Other rules for controlling access could include time of day, other applications that are running on a device at the time, even the user's proximity to a fixed point. The system would enforce the rules using Near Field Communication (NFC) plus a tether. "The phone is tethered to a Bluetooth or other signal that's being broadcast in the location," White explained. "Then you have to keep the cryptographic exchange going with the beacon to prove that you're still there. If you miss a beat in that exchange with the room, it knows that you're no longer there and it cuts o access." White says his team is also developing context-based control over information on a device. "We developed a security layer for Android so that you could write rules like, If somebody's on my corporate network we are going to automatically shut o access to all non-corporate apps,'" he said. Expanded uses for mobile devices, as well as the potential security concerns, may just be getting started. But finding ways to use new functionality not just for data collection and distribution but also as a means of securing them could help agencies make the most of their potential. SENSORS OFFER A VARIETY OF LOCKS TO IMPROVE SECURITY