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Participants Wanted for 2013 PlugFests

For the September issue of SIGNAL, I wrote an article about a new effort at AFCEA designed to spur innovation and rapid acquisition in defense technology. Dubbed PlugFests, the events are managed by the Rapid Integration Innovation Process (RI2P) special interest group, which is dedicated to showing the value of such events to government and industry.

During 2012, PlugFests took place at AFCEA's TechNet Land Forces conferences as RI2P group members worked to get out the word about their program and demonstrate the importance of the concept. Now, they are seeking new partners to participate in 2013. Personnel are drafting next year’s PlugFests with plans to conduct six to eight of them focused on a variety of themes. Group members are planning to introduce science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities into their future efforts as well. Already they are in discussions with San Diego points of contact to include STEM features at the PlugFest Booth at the AFCEA West show next January.

The group is looking for volunteers to serve as subject matter experts to develop use cases; as technology providers to offer software-based services and hardware solutions to continue to expand the reusable technology stack; and as developer challengers to bridge the gap between subject matter experts and the technology stack in the form of rapid prototype applications.

Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to contact Eric Westreich, defense C2 industry manager at Esri, at 909-893-2853 x5605 or ewestreich@esri.com; Chris Gunderson, the government technical director of the Multi-Agency Collaborative Environment, at 831-224-5182 or christopher.gunderson@macefusion.com; or Andras Szakal, vice president and chief technology officer, IBM U.S. Federal, at aszakal@us.ibm.com. All three men are members of the RI2P group and leaders of the PlugFest initiative.