Across the Digital Nation: States eye companies with C4ISR capabilities

Rishi Sood

Homeland security continues to be an important yet underdeveloped market opportunity. Since Sept. 11, 2001, first-responder organizations have been at the center of how the market would develop and mature.

However, most new funding for first-responder initiatives has been allocated more to boots, suits and overtime, rather than to complex information technology development. Other than the creation of multi-jurisdiction communication networks and integrated criminal justice information systems, the information technology opportunity has yet to fully materialize.

But over the past six months, there has been a notable uptick in interest for more sophisticated services to help first-responder organizations. In particular, state and local governments are voicing increased interest in applying the methods of federal command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR).

These services draw upon years of extensive application within federal defense, armed forces and intelligence communities. Several states have expressed interest in understanding how C4ISR can be applied most effectively to their organizations, particularly how it can be used to develop more sophisticated emergency operation centers. This would include adapting cornerstone public safety applications, such as computer-aided dispatch and biometrics with video surveillance, sensor technologies, integration with key federal databases and secure communications devices.

Concurrently, the funding stream from the Department of Homeland Security has begun to open up. Over the past three months, about $400 million in grants has been allocated to help state and local governments enhance preparedness and response capabilities. Seven states recently received at least $25 million, with Texas and Florida leading the pack at $78.2 million and $62.7 million, respectively. This is on top of approximately $4.4 billion for first-responder operational issues since the beginning of the year.

This trend toward a command and control approach to resolving the homeland security issue within state and local government is a potential windfall for traditionally federal-oriented vendors. Given their C4ISR experience with defense agencies, armed forces and intelligence organizations, federal vendors have a unique insight to bring to this emerging issue.

Moreover, these vendors have established relationships and proven implementations with federal agencies that represent impressive credentials to state and local government enterprises looking to replicate similar systems implementations.

Despite the increased interest in C4ISR capabilities, vendors that traditionally have focused on the federal market may not be able to make significant inroads within the state and local marketplace.

Historically, the competitive landscape in state and local government is littered with federal vendors unable to make the proper business alignment with the unique characteristics of this extremely decentralized market.

Given a market segmentation of 50 states, 3,200 counties and 19,000 cities, federal vendors will need to develop new business models to be successful with these organizations. Moreover, federal vendors new to the market will need to adapt messaging, sales force deployment and pricing to do business with state and local government organizations.

Lastly, federal vendors may need to develop solid partnerships with prominent state and local integrators in order to best penetrate the market.

There are some federal firms with a base of state and local government first-responder clients. Companies such as Northrop Grumman Corp., which has a list of prominent clients in this market, are better positioned to translate this increasing customer interest into tangible opportunities.

Whatever the outcome, the competitive landscape will certainly be more active over the next six months.

Rishi Sood is a principal analyst with Gartner Dataquest in Mountain View, Calif. His e-mail address is rishi.sood@gartner.com.

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close
SEARCH
contracts DB

Trending

  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Read More

  • Is SBA MIA on contractor fraud? Nick Wakeman

    Editor Nick Wakeman explores the puzzle of why SBA has been so silent on the latest contractor fraud scandal when it has been so quick to act in other cases. Read More

Webcasts

  • How Do You Support the Project Lifecycle?

    How do best-in-class project-based companies create and actively mature successful organizations? They find the right mix of people, processes and tools that enable them to effectively manage the project lifecycle. REGISTER for this webinar to hear how properly managing the cycle of capture, bid, accounting, execution, IPM and analysis will allow you to better manage your programs to stay on scope, schedule and budget. Learn More!

  • Sequestration, LPTA and the Top 100

    Join Washington Technology’s Editor-in-Chief Nick Wakeman as he analyzes the annual Top 100 list and reveals critical insights into how market trends have impacted its composition. You'll learn what movements of individual companies means and how the market overall is being impacted by the current budget environment, how the Top 100 rankings reflect the major trends in the market today and how the biggest companies in the market are adapting to today’s competitive environment. Learn More!