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What are some of DCRE Labs more unique solutions?

Customer Need: Web-cast the excavation of a prehistoric fossil of a Wooly Mammoth from an eroded drainage ditch off the Guadalupe River in San Jose, CA.
 
Challenges: No readily available electricity, network connectivity, or staff/building on site.
Project lead time: 7 days.
 
Solution: Using a gas generator for power, DCRE developed an on-site network of a laptop and a dedicated IP camera (new technology in '05), configured the "field" computer with a wireless modem (also new technology) to send the images back to DCRE and then housed all the field equipment inside a 12VDC "chilling" cooler to withstand the late summer heat (in excess of 95 degrees). Custom programming allowed the images to be successfully uploaded to DCRE's main servers, making them available across the Internet within seconds of being captured.
 
Keys to Success: Rapid response and solution development, attention to detail, ability to overcome obstacles, ability to develop new technology and programming.
 
The site (MammothCam.Com) is still used by science classes across the world.
 



Customer Need: Friends and families of those impacted by Hurricane Katrina had no way to know whether they were safe during and immediately after the hurricane hit New Orleans. Furthermore, surviors had no way of letting them know that they were safe or where they were, how to contact, etc.
 
Challenges: No communication infrastructure, no organization, limited on-site facilities coordination.
Project lead time: 0 days, the need became apparent as Katrina made landfall.
 
Solution: Working with volunteers across the Internet as well as at recovery shelters throughout the southern United States, DCRE developed a database-driven web application that allowed for quick searches on names, former/current addresses and by shelter. DCRE then deployed a web site specifically designed to match survivors/victims with friends/family. The site was up within 48 hours of landfall and, based in part on the data entry routines as well as the structured search capabilities, became the primary survivor / victim data collection system for the American Red Cross during the first few weeks of the aftermath. The demand was so great, Yahoo offered to temporarily house the database and application to meet the overwhelming bandwith need. The DCRE code and databases were transferred to Yahoo main servers in under three hours.
 
Keys to Success: Fast solution development, robust programming and database design, ability to effectively coordinate and communicate with several diverse team-members, ability to adapt to new demands and requirements.
 
The site (FamilyMessages.Org) is still used on an as-needed basis. The American Red Cross went on to provide similarly designed "Safe and Well" websites.



Customer Need: Support three podcasts (and websites) based on input from contributers around the country.
 
Challenges: Podcast "hosts" are in Texas and Colorado, "guests" may be anywhere in the United States. Each podcast in in its own language: English, Spanish and American Sign Language. (Podcasts are usually audio recordings, the ASL version would require a video podcast.)
 
Solution: Using existing software and technologies in new combinations, DCRE developed an automated, unattended, Internet-based recording system that allowed interviews to be recorded across the web (via Skype, for example), from regular telphones (cell phones, land lines or Skype phones -- or any combination of them), or use recordings uploaded from previous recording sessions (Audacity for example). DCRE also developed and maintained several websites for the project, ranging from public-facing podcast-suppport sites to project-facing internal sites to coordinate the recordings, transcriptions and production schedules.
 
DCRE also developed and deployed the web's first video podcast in American Sign Language (ASL) on disability information, using in-house recording, editing and production expertise. The video podcast series was simulatenously published on DCRE's web servers and on YouTube.com. The DCRE solution included voice-overs, transcriptions and closed-captions of the web-based video.
 
Keys to Success: Innovative use of existing technologies, desire and ability to maintain high production standards, comprehensive project management skills for multi-team coordination, ability to sustain delivery schedules over a long-term project, expertise on unique requirements within a specific user community.
 
The sites are available off the main project website at (Disability Law Lowdown.Com) as of January, 2009.
 


 
Put another way, DCRE Labs is a solutions provider that just happens to use technology really well.
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