Commercial Solutions for the Intelligence Community
I had the opportunity to participate in the exhibit hall portion of the GEOINT 2013* Symposium last month. As a member of SNI’s engineering team, and primarily working on Fulcrum, I was able to gain some insight into other aspects of Spatial Networks’ business. Walking around the exhibit hall, it was interesting to see how commercial software and hardware could stand up next to technology solutions specifically engineered for the intelligence and security communities.
I was not expecting to see companies such as Adobe, Dell, and Google represented in that environment. For a long time, there seemed to be a one way street where private sector and commercial businesses would benefit from technological advancements made by the public sector and military. Innovations originating from our military and national security needs, such as drones and high resolution satellite imagery, are changing the way commercial businesses operate. At the same time, the barriers that may have kept companies from taking advantage of these technologies in the past have been lowered. However, it now appears that the intelligence, security, and military communities are beginning to realize the benefits of taking advantage of the advancements being made by commercial hardware and software providers. For example, Adobe is creating content security tools for enterprise business customers that can be directly applied to the needs of government agencies. Another example is the use of Oculus Rift hardware, created for playing and controlling video games, for pre-mission visualization and planning.
Often times the requirements, specifically in terms of data security, lead to commercial technology being overlooked as viable solutions. However, as government agencies see their budgets decrease, and the problems they need to solve not getting smaller, they will need to become more open to all available options. This is an exciting transition, and I look forward to being a part of the role Spatial Networks plays in moving forward.