No. 6: Raytheon strives for balance
From complex biometrics to service-oriented architectures, the company rides high on the latest technology waves
- By Doug Beizer
- May 12, 2007
"I'm really seeing, for the first time, no one dominant architecture or service piece." T.W. Scott
It seemed like an impossible feat: Create a system that can check the fingerprint of a person driving 55 mph through a border station exiting the United States.
Without a contract in hand, developers from Raytheon Co.'s Information Systems unit designed a credit card-size solution that combines biometrics with ultrahigh radio frequency technology like never before.
"In some cases, our customers don't believe some technology solutions are possible," said Guy Swope, a senior biometrics architect at Raytheon. "So we took that as a challenge in this particular case. We believed it was possible to combine biometrics with radio frequency technology into a device and actually show the government that it's possible."
For T.W. Scott, the company's vice president of information solutions, that kind of attitude has led to the company's continuing success.
Raytheon ranks No. 6 on this year's Top 100 list with about $4.1 billion in prime government services contracts.
In the last couple of years, Raytheon has achieved a balanced portfolio of services it is delivering to federal customers, Scott said. Capabilities such as high-end computing, applications integration and database management are all enjoying similar levels of demand. "I'm really seeing, for the first time, no one dominant architecture or service piece," he said.
An example of tying existing systems together is Raytheon's FBI Ndex project, which will pull together data from about 18,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide.
State, local and tribal forces will feed information, such as the criminal history of people, into the Ndex solution. The system is being built using service-oriented architecture tools and capabilities, making it possible to rapidly perform searches of data, link multiple pieces of metadata and deliver that information quickly to law enforcement agents in the field. Users are expected to make about 6 million queries a day through the system, Scott said.
Several branches of the Justice Department and parts of the Homeland Security Department are expected to use it.
"It's got a lot of reuse solutions so the customer is not having to pay for first-time development or nonrecurring engineering," Scott said.
The whole Ndex solution is scheduled for deployment in less than a year.
To stay successful in the federal space, companies must be ready to build solutions using SOA products, Scott said. Federal customers are wary of big, custom applications, eschewing them for more flexible SOA and Web-based solutions.
Increased interest in Raytheon's $71 million usa.gov project with the Office of Citizen Services is evidence of agencies' desire to conduct business on the Web.
"The task order was set up to host a number of dot-gov Web sites," said Dave Overoye, manager of Raytheon Web Solutions. "The whole idea is you've got a lot of different federal agencies that need hosting. And rather than have them all stand up all their own separate environments, can we create a single, shared environment that is robust and has all the features that you'd want?"
The Web environment built by Raytheon is secure, is prepared for disaster recovery and has a staging environment for site production. Government customers can now build Web sites more cost effectively by taking advantage of the economies of scale. The first three sites built with it are USA.gov, Business.gov and Forms.gov.
The contract shows the evolution of the Web as a tool for the federal government. Sites are no longer add-ons or afterthoughts for agencies.
"These sites are critical pieces of communication," Overoye said, adding that citizens expect government sites to function around-the-clock.
Although more agencies appear interested in adopting USA.gov, Raytheon officials are hoping its fingerprint/radio frequency device gets examined by government organizations.
The personal authentication device, or PAD, is about the size of a credit card and has a fingerprint scanner built into it. A person approaching a border station would hold the card between the thumb and index finger. That person would press the scanner on the thumb side and, on the other side, press a button that activates the card.
PAD compares the person's fingerprint to one originally stored on the card and signals to RFID antennas a unique ID associated with that individual, Swope said. "It determines whether or not that individual matches successfully, so...you can determine this person left at this point in time."
Swope envisions the device being part of a bigger system that involves additional checks beyond the biometrics when necessary.
"It can be applied to a lot of different areas, like the registered-traveler programs," he said. "It does add a level of security that's not there today, and it gives you the speed of RFID."Profiles of the Top 20 companies in the 2007 Top 100
No. 1: Lockheed Martin's reinvention
No. 2: With SBInet, Boeing IDS takes flight
No. 3: Northrop Grumman rises to new challenges
No. 4: KBR gets down to business
No. 5: IPO catapults SAIC into a new era
No. 6: Raytheon strives for balance
No. 7: General Dynamics in full sprint
No. 8: Fluor's ready in a pinch
No. 9: L-3 leadership stays the course
No. 10 EDS, Hard-learned lesson
No. 11 CSC, Experience that counts
No. 12: Battelle seeks new frontiers
No. 13: Booz Allen, Quality over quantity
No. 14: Bechtel telecom makes a splash
No. 15: For BAE, persistence pays off
No. 16: ITT makes a push into new markets
No. 17: Dell, Talking about evolution
No. 18: Technology and service fuel IBM
No. 19: Verizon caps off a busy year with a big win
No. 20: United Technologies gains altitude
Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.