The FRIEND project aims at providing an innovative and sustainable solution to System Wide Information Management (SWIM) of heterogeneous data managed by different autonomous systems within a Community of Interest (COI).

The FRIEND prototype will be developed for the aviation industry. The aviation industry where many autonomous stakeholders are involved and large amounts of data are being processed in real time will be the ideal case study best showing the powerfulness of the FRIEND concept.

The FRIEND system will take advantage of the latest technological innovations (ODBMS, Web services, Data Distribution Service, etc.) and conform to the current standards.

Data Integration

As an integration framework FRIEND provides a detailed construction pattern. Common integration requirements will be identified and implemented in the FRIEND framework, and based on the framework concrete integration layers can then be developed for different communities of interest such as the aviation industry, financial institutes and governmental organizations. The system integrator implements the coupling code by creating subclasses of predefined abstract classes (taken from the framework) and overwriting certain inherited methods. Local databases and applications do not need to be changed.


FRIEND adopts the object-oriented technology in a consistent way: the Virtual Information Pool uses an ODBMS as the underlying data management system. As a powerful framework aiming at integrating various kinds of data coming from heterogeneous information systems, FRIEND requires the ODBMS to provide not only standard ODBMS features but also advanced data processing features like modelling, querying, indexing of geographical data, etc. Furthermore, specific needs of the real-time information management in the aviation industry should also be taken into account (such as object-level versioning etc.).

Middleware & Security

FRIEND adopts Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). The Core Technical Services (middleware) layer includes Interface Management for service discovery and invocation, Messaging Service, Enterprise Service Management for system monitoring/supervision, Security Service, etc.

Since FRIEND aims to solve data integration problems in large Communities of Interest involving various autonomous systems, it must satisfy two key requirements:

  • FRIEND must guarantee the autonomy of the local systems;
  • FRIEND must respect the security policies of the local systems and allows only authorized users to call their services or consume their data.

To meet the first requirement, FRIEND must provide an easy way to loosely couple local systems. Web services is a good technology for this purpose. It fosters Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) based on SOAP message exchanges. However, the Security service provided by Web services is still insufficient, and additional security measures must be taken so that FRIEND is able to satisfy security requirements in an environment with high demands on safety and security such as the aviation industry.

Furthermore, we also consider using Data Distribution Service (DDS) for Messaging Service. DDS is a powerful messaging technology based on a data-centric publish/subscribe model, it fits well in real-time systems where high performance in message distribution is required.