Splunking Soldiers and First Responders

When I was an employee at Splunk, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to work on some innovative military projects.

One such project  was the Smart Soldier App , with contributions from Justin Boucher (a US Army Veteran) and Ramik Chopra.

This App is essentially a data correlation narrative that aggregates data from multiple sources to provide more effective, targetted and expedited triage for soldiers in the field and provide commanders with real time insights into the condition and locations of soldiers and resources in the battle theatre :

  1. Soldier and Medic geolocation data and details
  2. Soldier real time health and condition metrics
  3. Soldier historical medical/patient information
  4. Soldier “smart suit” condition
  5. Geomapping based visualizations to determine the nearest medic and best treatment facility for an injured soldier

But why restrict this to just soldiers in the battlefield?  You could take this use case as inspiration to apply to any type of first responder scenario. The possibilities in your data are limitless, so do reach out to us if you have any ideas that you want to collaborate on.

You can find out more about the Smart Soldier App in the links below :

Smart Soldier Video

Smart Soldier PDF

Art of the Possible

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Get your BINARY data into Splunk

In a world of text log files and JSON over HTTP, do not forget about the absolute treasure trove of incredibly valuable binary data that can be captured and preprocessed.

To name just a few examples :

  • proprietary industry protocols such as MATIP in Aviation or ISO8583 in Payments Processing
  • media files , images/audio/video
  • compressed data
  • encrypted data
  • binary application dumps

A few years ago I wrote a really cool free and open source Splunk App called Protocol Data Inputs (PDI), in use by many customers today, that allows you to capture any data (binary or text) and then preprocess it for textual indexing in Splunk.

Check out some of the content in these blogs and presentations, I hope you can get some inspiration from them and start looking around for what binary data you have to unleash!

Protocol Data Inputs

Data Obfuscation in Splunk Enterprise

Send Data to Splunk via an authenticated TCP Input

Sending compressed payloads to Splunk

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Talk to Splunk with Amazon Alexa

What do you think the future experience of interacting with your data is going to be?

Is it going to be logging in by way of a user interface and then using your mouse/keyboard/gestures to view and interact with something on a display panel, or is it going to be more like simply talking with another person?

Introducing the “Talk to Splunk with Amazon Alexa” App

This is a Splunk App that enables your Splunk instance for interfacing with Amazon Alexa by way of a custom Alexa skill, thereby provisioning a completely voice based Natural Language Interface for Splunk.

You can then use an Alexa device such as Amazon’s Echo, Tap or Dot or another 3rd party hardware device to tell or ask Splunk anything you want.

  • Get answers to questions based off Splunk Searches
  • Ask for information, such as search command descriptions
  • Return static responses and audio file snippets
  • Developer extension hooks to plugin ANY custom voice driven requests and actions you want

The App also allows you to train your Splunk instance to the conversational vocabulary for your specific use case.

Vision

The ultimate vision I foresee here is a future where you can completely do away with your keyboard, mouse, monitor & login prompt.

Even right now there are use cases where having to look at a monitor or operate an input device are simply counter productive, infeasible or unsafe.Industrial operating environments immediately come to mind.

You should be able to be transparently & dynamically authenticated based on your voice signature and then simply converse with your data like how you would talk to another person… asking questions or requesting to perform some action.

This app is a step in the direction of this vision.

Demos

Echo

Dot

Advanced Usage Example

Go forth and talk!

This App is now available for download on Splunkbase.

Comprehensive usage documentation can be found here where the source code is also available.

I encourage feedback and collaboration particularly around creating custom dynamic actions to share with the community so we can organically grow the capabilities of this offering!

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