I had bookmarked this article yesterday, but had not had time to read it until today. My first thought was that this is exactly something that would have been done on ArcIMS or MapGuide two years ago. Now in 2007, these applications are being done with Virtual Earth (at a government organization no less, the bastion of ESRI and Autodesk).
The EVOC (Enterprise Virtual Operations Center) portal layers the City’s GIS data on top of Virtual Earth, providing users with the ability to visualize City assets, resources and live incident reporting. Information is merged from the fire departments of 7 cities and well as the police departments of 2 of those cities.
Rather than deploying at big GIS server and having clients hit it, they deploy a lightweight web application. I think we are beginning to see a trend here, away from loading up a huge server with tons of server products and toward lightweight APIs that are capable of being deployed anywhere with little administration from anyone.