3 emerging technologies you can't ignore

In its recent report, Emerging Federal Technology Markets 2015, Deltek has identified three major technology areas poised for growth over the next several years.

The government has been taking measures to enable these kinds of solutions by expanding wireless networks, implementing cloud computing platforms, deploying standardized, commodity hardware, and engineering Internet Protocol-based transport networks, Deltek said.

In its report, Deltek analyzed three technology areas:

  • Sensor-based technologies related to the internet of things, machine-to-machine and cyber physical systems
  • Software-defined Infrastructure
  • Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning

The report makes a number of observations about each as well as recommendations to companies.

Sensor-based technologies 

All of these technologies enable communication between embedded sensor devices or between devices and the physical environment. This can be used to support mission objectives over a range of areas including intelligence and national security, Deltek said, with early adopters being the Navy, Air Force and General Services Administration.

Recommendations include:

  • Secure your solutions since the stakes get higher the more integrated and interoperable sensor technologies become should your assets be compromised.
  • Take a holistic approach, focusing on building scalability, modularity and flexibility.
  • Grow through research and development funds since agencies often fund innovation through R&D instead of through outright purchases.
  • Cross-apply solutions so that you can take them into adjacent markets to grow your business.
  • Cross-market to new customers since many innovation programs have a collaborative nature between two or more agencies.

Software-defined Infrastructure

This technology allows for the rapid and automated use of IT without human intervention, and most agencies have software-defined infrastructure in their sights thanks to their cloud computing investments. Software defined infrastructure would allow agencies to reduce hardware costs and operating costs and improve network speed and enhance security, Deltek said.

The Deltek report did find, however, that current agency interest in software-defined solutions is only educational right now, but should change when agencies begin adopting more infrastructure-as-a-service solutions. The agencies who will be most prepared to adopt software-defined solutions are those agencies who have made the most progress moving to cloud solutions. Deltek reported that the cloud is currently the entry point into this area, with telecommunications being the second.

Deltek’s recommendations for software defined infrastructure include:

  • Assess customer readiness, seeking out agencies that have well-evolved programs to implement a unified IP-based transport network; are far along in the consolidation and virtualization of their data centers; and have made progress toward the cloud.
  • Simplify your offerings since you will be spending a lot of time educating potential customers on  the benefits of your solutions.
  • Suggest narrow uses in order to help agencies identify where software-defined infrastructure might be applicable in their environments.
  • Participate in R&D efforts so that you can take advantage of the software-defined infrastructure funding that agencies will likely make in the near future
  • Increase focus on services since, despite the recent pressure around services, the consolidation of data centers will eventually lead to software-only data environments

Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning

Agencies need deeper data analysis and improved strategic and operational decision-making, which is driving the need for predictive analytics and machine learning, Deltek said. Predictive analytics allow agencies to extract data from a number of data sets to determine patterns and predict outcomes, while machine learning both automates the process of creating predictive analytics and also uses algorithms enabling machine-based systems to improve upon their capabilities without human intervention, Deltek said.

According to Deltek’s report, contract spending patterns reveal that predictive analytics is the most mature of all of these markets; Deltek found that agency investment in predictive analytics grew by 424 percent over the last five years, going from $22 million in fiscal 2010 to $114.3 million in fiscal 2014. Growth was highest among civilian agencies, but defense agencies also saw solid growth, Deltek said.

Deltek’s recommendations include:

  • Focus near-term BD efforts on active agencies, including the Air Force, defense agencies, Treasury, Justice, Commerce and State departments.
  • Don’t neglect civilian agencies since their interest in predictive analytics is just as high as the defense agencies’ interest
  • Secure visionary small business partners since these small businesses are making innovations in predictive analytics and also since the federal government is focused on increasing small business contracting
  • Jockey for position on relevant government-wide contract vehicles such as GSA's upcoming Alliant 2 and NS2020 contracts.
  • Develop offerings tailored to agency mission priorities including cybersecurity, health care analysis, intelligence data analysis, law enforcement and energy management.

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at mhoover@washingtontechnology.com, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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