USSOCOM Fields Innovative Technology at SOFWERX

By Ryan Granato, analyst

Demand for new communications and network capabilities for both the Command and the operator are of the highest priority for USSOCOM these days and were oft-repeated themes during the recent Special Operations Forces Industry Conference. SOFIC has turned into the event where industry and government converge every year to showcase current capabilities and discuss mission-related technology challenges.

According to Jim Smith, USSOCOM’s acquisition executive, current communication requirements revolve around issues such as network visibility, assured communications and reduced digital signature to avoid detection in operating environments. Solutions that address IoT and edge computing complement the command’s need for a fully-connected and sensor-enabled operator. In doing business with USSOCOM, Smith emphasized the importance of utilizing SOFWERX.

USSOCOM typically fields new capabilities at a rate much higher than their counterparts. However, technology continues to advance at a rate that traditional government acquisition processes cannot keep pace with. In response, USSOCOM launched SOFWERX, a technology incubator of its own to increase government and industry collaboration through a variety of USSOCOM-hosted projects and events. Kelly Stratton-Feix, director of Acquisition Agility at SOFWERX, stated that the immediate priorities set forth for SOFWERX are shorter procurement cycles and increased support of small businesses.

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The Truth About Federal Year-End Money

Rita Walston - headshotcontinuing resolution, install base, federal government, budgetBy Rita Walston, senior director, marketing programs

The federal government spends upwards of $90 billion every year on IT. By June, a surprising amount of the budget remains unspent and unobligated. And every year around this time, technology vendors hope to cash in on the year-end money the federal government must spend by the end of the fiscal year — September 30.

Is there anything that sales and marketing can do this late in the fiscal year to help bring in additional revenue?

Yes, says a panel of former government executives who debated this topic at the immixGroup Government IT Sales Summit last November — especially if your company has already done a good job building relationships with the customer and positioning your product or service.

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The latest on FirstNet and its future opportunities

By Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

The new year is upon us and with that comes a flurry of activity for FirstNet now that all 50 states and territories have opted into the network. If you haven’t been following FirstNet let me catch you up.

To start, FirstNet will be the nationwide first responder interoperable broadband network. The FirstNet Authority and its partner AT&T (who was awarded the build-out contract) will be building out and/or upgrading the broadband infrastructure across all 50 states and territories to ensure that in the event of an emergency, first responders can communicate and respond effectively.

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How to help government with its biggest cloud hurdles

cloud, IT, governmentBy Kevin Shaker, senior analyst

Cloud infrastructure is growing rapidly in the public sector, with a compound growth rate exceeding 29 percent. This is a trend that will continue as government accelerates its breadth of technological viability to match the innovative private sector.

While most agencies’ IT leaders have said cloud architecture is vital to mission success, there are difficulties in determining how this technology should be managed and which applications can be migrated and to which cloud environments.

We delved into this issue at immixGroup’s recent Government IT Sales Summit where industry and federal leaders discussed the challenges and advantages of federal cloud migration and routes to accelerate agency transformation.

Here are some of the concerns and recommendations:

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3 tech opportunities in health and human services

SLED, ITBy Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

Connecting the dots between the news and opportunity can be a tricky endeavor, but those headlines can often translate into an opportunity if you know where to look.

We took a close look at state and local opportunities in the IT sector during immixGroup’s recent Government IT Sales Summit. The session on Selling to SLED—Updates and Innovations included insight from Robert Mancini, chief information officer for Prince William County, Va., and Garrett Histed, senior director of State, Local and Education at VMware.

Below are three areas where technology can have a major impact on the health and human services market:

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Why government needs help getting smarter at the edge

Tom O'Keefeinternet of things, intelligent edgeBy Tom O’Keefe, consultant

One of the major emerging topics in government is how to best analyze data gathered from the ever-increasing amount of sensors at or near the edge, rather than bringing it back to large data centers where the majority of compute lives. There are many questions around how the public sector starts to use this data and whether they can make informed decisions on the ground.

immixGroup hosted a panel discussion on this very topic at the recent Government IT Sales Summit. Panelists, including Ian Doyle, executive security advisor for IBM’s Security Business Unit, and Ashish Parikh, vice president of IoT platforms at Arrow Electronics, discussed the evolution and transformation of IT at the edge.

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What you should know about the future of machines

machine learning, artificial intelligenceBy Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

2017 saw machine learning become the de-facto in-vogue technology, whether the conversation was about data, cybersecurity or even traditional business systems.

In December, Google’s AlphaZero chess engine, utilizing Google’s DeepMind AI, crushed the incumbent chess engine champion, Stockfish. Google’s DeepMind relies heavily on machine learning – the AlphaZero chess engine did not start with any human knowledge, yet was able to learn how to beat Stockfish in 400 hours through machine learning. It’s a clear victory for machine learning – but one that’s easy to simulate. This is a much easier use case than identifying noise from cyber threats or prioritizing and cleaning multiple forms of data.

At immixGroup’s Government IT Sales Summit, we hosted a discussion on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning with Ron Gula, president and co-founder of Gula Tech Adventures and former CEO and co-founder of Tenable Networks, Dr. William Vanderlinde, chief scientist at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) and Rich Friedrich, senior director of cyber security analytics at Micro Focus Government Solutions.

Here are key takeaways to keep in mind when you discuss machine learning and AI with your government customers:

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