Mil-Gov Media Technologies: Maintaining an Edge

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NAB Show takes a look at the tools being used by the military and government sectors during the one-day conference Media Technologies for Military & Government, which will address a number of issues and opportunities that the mil-gov market will face in 2017 and beyond. These include the revolution in sentiment analysis, object and facial recognition, machine learning, issues of transparency and cybersecurity.

Everything that the commercial sector faces must also be addressed by the mil-gov market, along with the added issues of hardened and more secure systems and ever-diminishing government budgets. This presents opportunities and challenges for the players involved.

The Media Technologies for Military & Government will kick off with introductory remarks by Joseph A. Smith, deputy at the strategic outreach office at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), on “The Other M.E.T. Effectsm: Mil-Gov, Entertainment and Technology.” This address will highlight how the commercial sector has, in essence, made a quantum leap in terms of technological development. This theme will resonate throughout the conference.

“Historically key events, war and other actions, forced us to innovate,” said Steven Weinstein, CEO of MovieLabs, who will deliver the “Keynote: Video and Machine Intelligence — Past, Present and Future.”

“The new innovation is happening in an open environment that is also forcing everyone to change how they do business, and that includes government and the military,” said Weinstein. “Off-the-shelf components are forcing government to think about innovation. Government used to be the one that funded research and innovation, especially in these big projects — but now companies like Apple and Google are able to provide the same and even more robust R&D.” This is certainly true in the revolution that video is undergoing, not just in the greater resolution with Ultra-HD/4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR), but also in the advances with sentiment analysis, intent and threat assessment, machine learning and how all this is coupled with object and facial recognition. The military is faced with rapidly adopting these technologies to maintain an edge.

“The question is how you can go fast enough when your enemy can be going faster,” said Weinstein. “How do you not only keep up with the enemy, but maintain an edge so that you reduce the threat?”

This technology has the potential to save lives by taking out the greatest downside in routine monitoring that is needed into today’s new normal world.

“Humans are terrible monitors,” said Weinstein. “So any technology that takes monitoring away is a step forward. Machines can literally look for needles in a haystack. Situational awareness can increase immediately, but it comes at a price, such as the issue of privacy.”

The balance of safety and security will resonate across the other sessions including the panel on “Cybersecurity: Lean, Mean and Secure,” while the ability to provide greater openness to the populace will be in focus at the “Video Streaming and Archiving for Transparency and Accessibility” session by Tony Shawcross, executive director at the Open Media Foundation.

“Our tool makes it simple and cheap — or even free — to stream video of public meetings and provides searchable archives so constituents can find — and share — video and related documents, bills, vote data, etc.,” said Shawcross, who said the Open Media Project software was designed to bring a new level of transparency and accessibility to state and local governments.

“This is all public data/info, and our focus is on making it simpler to access so governments can meet voters where they’re at and bring our state and local governments into the 21st century,” he said. “With the technology available today, there’s no need for constituents to have to make the trip to their capitol or city hall in order to watch public meetings, and no need for them to sit through hours of meetings to engage around the specific topics they wish to follow.”

As Shawcross explained, some states — such as his native Colorado — have a law that requires all state House and Senate meetings to be recorded and archived, so that constituents can obtain a copy. For 30 years a state employee could duplicate a copy via tape or more recently CD; the Open Media Project could streamline it even further.

“Our software makes that process simple and free on both sides, saving both the constituent and the government agency time and money,” said Shawcross. “Similar efficiencies are being realized using new technologies like automated transcriptions, enabling journalists and voters to be notified whenever the events and issues they care about are taking place.”