What do several thousand people from government, academia, private industry, and commercial technology companies have in common? They all converged in Tampa, FL, this April for an event known as GEOINT. The annual gathering is described as the “preeminent event of the year for defense, intelligence, and homeland security communities.” And, by all accounts, this year’s GEOINT upheld that description – it was a huge success.
The exhibit hall had a wide range of different technologies on display. Everything from airborne intelligence gathering equipment, to systems integrators, to software cloud providers showcased the next wave in technology built to support the warfighter and enhance national security. For our part, SAP National Security Services, Inc. (SAP NS2®) chose to focus on one of our specialized areas: complex data analytics. Based on feedback received, there was a real desire for improvement in data analytics across the community of attendees. This may come as no surprise, though, considering that we will all be awash in a sea of data with more than 20 billion sensors deployed worldwide within the next two years.
Forbes puts this in more clear-cut terms:
“Approximately 4,800 devices are being connected to the network as we speak. Ten years from now, the figure will mushroom to 152,000 a minute.”
The enormous growth in data challenges isn’t only with sensors. Data chaos is everywhere. GEOINT 2018 acknowledged this viewpoint from a mission perspective with their theme: “Driving Data to Decisions and Action.” Those who stopped by our booth continued to reinforce this theme; many noted they are collecting data faster than they can process it, and they are collecting more varieties of data than traditional analytical platforms can handle. Many analysts today face this growing problem of swimming in sensors and drowning in data; while their agencies may have collected the answers they need to address pressing mission needs, they lack the capability to process and make sense of the giant pool of data within their control.
In contrast, one thing that was NOT consistent across all of our interactions were the types of missions people faced. Geospatial intelligence was the most prominent, but the desire for predictive analytics and automated machine learning came in at a close second. Analysts wanted to be able to build complex models and run those models across huge volumes of data in a matter of seconds, not trudging along for hours or even days (as is the case with many mission systems today). The topic of predictive analytics came up as a faint hope or wish, as many felt understanding the future was not possible using the data they had access to or by using current technology.
Many of the distinguished speakers at GEOINT this year also spoke of the need for taming the chaos of data with predictive analytics. Clearly, there is a gap between where current capabilities are today and where they would like to be in the very near future.
SAP NS2 has developed cutting edge in-memory technology to address these types of calculations and analytics that are extremely heavy in terms of processing requirements. We shared insight and demonstrations for our capabilities, along with our partners’ technologies, with people who stopped by our booth, hoping to help build an understanding that there actually IS technology that can solve their vast data challenges, today.
One example of using current technology and data – even data in your data lakes or outside your environment – is provided in the video below.
For further reading, visit: GEOINT 2018