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Szykman: Turning Big Data Into Big Information

August 30, 2013
By Max Cacas

 
Current efforts to deal with big data, the massive amounts of information resulting from an ever-expanding number of networked computers, storage and sensors,  go hand-in-hand with the government’s priority to sift through these huge datasets for important data.  So says Simon Szykman, chief information officer (CIO) with the U.S. Department of Commerce.
 
He told a recent episode of the “AFCEA Answers” radio program that the current digital government strategy includes initiatives related to open government and sharing of government data. “We’re seeing that through increased use of government datasets, and in some cases, opening up APIs (application programming interfaces) for direct access to government data.  So, we’re hoping that some of the things we’re unable to do on the government side will be done by citizens, companies, and those in the private sector to help use the data in new ways, and in new types of products.”
 
At the same time, the source of all that data is itself creating big data challenges for industry and government, according to Kapil Bakshi, chief solution architect with Cisco Public Sector in Washington, D.C.
 
“We expect as many as 50 billion devices to be connected to the internet by the year 2020.  These include small sensors, control system devices, mobile telephone devices.  They will all produce some form of data that will be collected by the networks, and flow back to a big data analytics engine.”  He adds that this forthcoming “internet of things,” and the resultant datasets, will require a rethinking of how networks are configured and managed to handle all that data. 
 

Open Data Initiative: Providing Fresh Ideas on Securely Sharing Information

August 30, 2013
By Paul Christman and Jamie Manuel

For years, the Defense department took a “do it alone” posture when it came to sharing information and protecting its networks and communication infrastructures from security attacks. Now in an interconnected world of reduced budgets and ever-increasing security risks, the DOD is fundamentally changing the way it approaches information sharing and cybersecurity. 

Army Shares with Air Force

August 29, 2013

The U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) have signed an architecture-sharing and modernization agreement, which enables the Air Force to take advantage of Army excess information technology capacity. The arrangement will help the Air Force save the approximately $1.2 billion it would have spent to upgrade to multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) routers and regional security stacks.

Army force structure changes created the extra capacity. Simultaneously, the Air Force has been working toward modernizing its architecture to take advantage of the Joint Information Environment. The two services will have access to data from DISA-owned and -operated joint regional security stacks as a joint capability; their cyber components will continue to execute cyber defense on their own networks.

In addition to cost savings, the MPLS routers will increase backbone bandwidth to 10 gigabytes per second. Some current bandwidth speeds are operating at 650 megabytes per second. The larger-capacity routers also will help the Air Force and Army converge their enterprise network backbones and gain cost savings in other areas, Army officials say.

For information on the Joint Information Environment Enterprise Operations Center, watch DISA's video:

Cool App-titude: Pounce

August 27, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

 

From a print advertisement to an online purchase in one click, a new iOS app lets you pounce on products from your favorite brands. The free Pounce app uses image recognition to let users scan an item from newspapers or magazines. It securely stores shipping and billing information to automate the buying process. Just scan a product and click "Buy Now." The processing, packing and shipping are done directly from the retailer just like with a regular online purchase.

The app will recognize products from any retail partners, which currently include Target, Staples, Toys "R" Us and Ace Hardware, among others.

According to the app's FAQ page, developers are "working hard to make Pounce available for Android users soon."

Download the app from the iTunes App Store.

These sites are not affiliated with AFCEA or SIGNAL Magazine, and we are not responsible for the content or quality of the products offered. When visiting new Web sites, please use proper Internet security procedures.

Contest Seeks Creative Uses for Space Imagery

August 27, 2013

European Space Imaging is challenging innovators to propose new applications for 50-centimeter optical satellite imagery through its High-Res Challenge. The winner will receive €20,000 (more than $25,000) of imagery data to support the realization of the idea.

The competition only requires submission of an idea and not a prototype or finished product that uses high-resolution satellite data. Ideas must be easily implementable and sustainable as well as cut costs and create efficiencies. Last year’s challenge winner used the data package within Cerberus, an emergency mapping crowd sourcing game. Entry information is available online.

European Space Imaging’s challenge is part of Copernicus Masters 2013, a program to provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security. Other challenges that are part of the program include GEO Illustration, Best Service and ESA App.

The deadline for entries is September 15, 2013.

Google Glass Through My Eyes

August 27, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

It’s not every day you get the chance to try on one of the most buzzed-about consumer technology advances in recent memory, so I jumped at the chance to try out Google Glass during a recent visit with Thermopylae Sciences and Technology.

Thermopylae, a defense contractor based in Arlington, Virginia, acquired the glasses through the Google Glass Foundry and Explorer programs and now is experimenting with how wearable computers could integrate with its current and future products. (Read more in "Google Glass Sharpens View of Wearable Computer Future.")

Having never seen or worn Google Glass, I anticipated an augmented-reality experience—staring through two glass lenses and seeing information projected over my view of the world. The reality of Google Glass is much different. The frames hook over your ears and rest on your nose like traditional glasses, but the viewing piece is raised to the right. When you stare straight ahead, you have an unobstructed view as you normally would. To actually see the Google Glass “screen,” you have to consciously look up and to the right.

The glasses are extremely light, and it’s easy to see how you could wear a pair for a prolonged period of time. John-Isaac Clark, chief innovation officer of Thermopylae, wears a pair all day and says he stopped noticing the glasses after about an hour, just like you might with regular glasses. But while you may not feel the glasses on your face, others will certainly take notice. Clark sums it up nicely: “It looks stupid.” Not my finest fashion hour.

Special Ops Hunts for Psyops Tool

August 26, 2013

The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is seeking radio broadcast systems that can search for and acquire every AM and FM radio station in a region and then broadcast a message across the specific area. This capability would be used to share information simultaneously with residents in locations where unrest or natural or manmade disasters make it difficult to communicate. The synchronous over-broadcast system must be lightweight, able to operate on multiple frequencies and demonstrated at a technology readiness level 8 or higher.

To propose their secure communications system, companies must submit a summary outline not to exceed five pages that describes the performance specifications. Submissions must include name, address, phone and fax numbers, and email address for all points of contact.

This is a sources sought announcement only. If SOCOM decides to acquire one of the proposed systems, a pre-award synopsis will be posted on FedBizOpps.gov to pursue procurement.

DISA’s Forge.mil Surpasses 1,000 Projects

August 26, 2013

The Defense Information Systems Agency's (DISA's) Forge.mil has surpassed the 1,000-project mark with 798 software development works on SoftwareForge, 162 on ProjectForge and 42 on Forge SIPR (secure Internet protocol routing). Forge.mil is a family of enterprise services supporting the U.S. Defense Department’s technology community. It allows collaborative development and information technology project management through the full application life cycle. Projects on SoftwareForge are visible to all Forge.mil users, who also can browse ProjectForge for Defense Department public content made accessible within private undertakings. Visitors can go to the site to search and download software, report bugs, contribute change requests or request their own private project space in DISA’s fee-for-service offering. To access the Forge SIPR site, users must have a valid SIPR public key infrastructure software certificate or hardware token.

New Innovation Awards RESONATE at Resnick Sustainability Institute

August 21, 2013

 

The Resnick Sustainability Institute at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has established an award to honor cutting-edge work that addresses some of the most difficult problems in energy and sustainability. The award winners will be announced in the spring of 2014. The RESONATE Awards will focus on innovative, paradigm-shifting work from individuals at an early stage in their careers, whose ideas are worthy of significant, widespread recognition. The work can be from many fields, including science, technology, economics and public policy, among others. The intent is to draw attention to the innovators making significant strides in some of the grand challenges facing humanity within the context of achieving global sustainability. These include meeting the world’s energy needs, providing water and food for a growing world population, cleaning the environment and improving access to the natural resources people need to live a productive life.

The deadline for nominations is October 13, 2013. For additional information, email the Resnick Institute.

Cool App-titude: SugarSync

August 20, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

 

Looking for an easy way to sync your data across your devices and computer? Need mobile backup for your files, photos, videos and music? The free SugarSync mobile app gives you access to all your data from your smartphone or tablet.

With the app, you can access any files from your computer, share privately with select people, upload from your mobile device to your computer and edit documents. Send files remotely from your phone or tablet even if your computer is off.

SugarSync has mobile apps for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian devices. The app is free with 5 GB and the option of an in-app purchase of $49.99 for 30 GB.

These sites are not affiliated with AFCEA or SIGNAL Magazine, and we are not responsible for the content or quality of the products offered. When visiting new Web sites, please use proper Internet security procedures.

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