PLEXSYS has released Comm 4.8, a modern communications platform for operational, simulation, and training use. Sonomarc covers communications, whether over digital IP or analog radio, intercom, phone, or text-based chat. This update provides significant updates to phones and text chat and enables deeper integration via a new HTTP REST API.
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With the arrival of COVID-19 remote work, the PLEXSYS Comm 4.8 release priorities shifted to support its internal teams via sonomarc Chat Link. One PLEXSYS team had recently started using chat, and remote work meant a daily reliance on the product. The question for the product team became, “How can sonomarc Chat be used in this changing environment?” With corporate environments evolving to largely remote-work scenarios, two things became a priority: security and reliability over wide area networks.
Starting in Comm 4.8, all sonomarc client connections are authenticated and encrypted with TLS 1.2 using AES-256 and an SHA-384 hash by default. This authentication means traffic (text messages, remote configuration, instructor/operator connections, etc.) is protected, whether on the LAN or over long-haul WANs like the Internet. Reliability has been improved by keeping clients in sync even over unreliable networks with changing IPs, network adapters, and VPNs.
In this update, Chat Link now shows images inline in conversations. This update includes animated imagery. In previous versions, images could only be opened by launching the operating system’s configured handler application (such as Microsoft Photos, Paint, or similar). In some environments, this could pose a security problem.
Often images are used as part of the mission, driving the training and objectives forward by quickly sharing media. This change allows the user greater collaboration and faster sharing of content in operational scenarios to keep up with real-world systems capabilities.
PLEXSYS’ Operator Link software provides the operator with a communications panel for operational use and training. This update adds VoIP phones to the Operator interface, enabling integration with or modeling real-world VoIP phone systems. The panel supports multiple phone numbers on different networks.
For the last several years, sonomarc has been using what PLEXSYS calls the Remote Protocol SDK to interoperate with third-party solutions such as ZedaSoft cockpits and FAA trainers. This protocol has done well for many years, but DLL-based interfaces are being retired to support modern solutions that play well with containers, VMs, and cloud architectures. With this in mind, a new system was conceived, taking advantage of the sonomarc platform and utilizing the webserver already built into sonomarc Core. The system is a fully RESTful API over HTTP. This REST API provides remote orchestration and integration with sonomarc.