Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
Northrup Grumman Hosts Panel Discussion on New Technologies
July 7th, 2015 by Susan Smith
Partnerships, unmanned spacecraft, technologies and sensors were some of the topics covered in a panel discussion and press luncheon held at GEOINT Symposium 2015 in Washington D.C. recently, by Northrup Grumman.
Northrup Grumman, known also as an aerospace/defense company, is a global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide.
Those sitting on the panel included: Sean Love ISR Business Development Director (moderator), Hugh McFadden – Manager of Emerging Intelligence Programs, Steve Ryan – Senior Mission Engineer, Gary Wu – User Experience Engineer, and Steve Feng – User Experience Engineer, IMPACT Team.
Moderator Sean Love asked about how you might focus technology resources and human resources, with the emergence of leading technologies taking a front row. “How do they fit in with the data-centric model?” he asked, noting that the government is no longer in the commanding position of owning all the sensors.
“We can’t just look at the defense industry for solutions anymore. Solutions come from commercial,” said McFadden. “A lot of of underlying technology is transferable and we are looking differently at partnerships.”
In the Department of Defense many people express frustration at the acquisition process. There is concern that commercial companies may not understand intelligence work.
At the same time, there is growing government interest in small satellites which Northrup Grumman provides products and solutions for and what to do with the data. The old model in a lot of ways is no longer effective because of the cost and time involved.
Love talked about “Technology + methodology = core capability.”
Feng said that we need nuances in systems and to get close to the analyst. “IMPACT is our mission-driven technology. The mission drives the direction.”
Partnerships will be embraced by the government. “We’re looking at small businesses that are not defense-oriented for acquisition,” said McFadden. “And the platforms that can be ‘servers in the sky,’ to send back information, not raw data.”
Love said they need to connect old legacy data to the new method. “There’s an opportunity in linked data to link outside the traditional relational database. Spatial processes must ripple through the relational database.”
15-20% of U.S. government software projects fail completely. Requirements don’t match user needs. The user experience needs to take data and make it actionable. Also, it’s important to take the human aspects of interacting with technology and conduct research on it.
Data is constantly evolving and never rests. Timeliness of data has an impact and decision advantage that is sometimes short term. “We need to condition data so the user doesn’t have to do it, and do it with a pragmatic approach,” said Feng.
There are legalities about taking on commercial sensors, “there are so many sensors and an ocean of data,” said Love.
“Mission-driven processes collaborate technology development with customers and roll it back into our larger research,” said Feng. “The analyst already buys into it. This is a user-centric design process.
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