The postponement of the GEOINT 2013 Symposium due to the since-ended government shutdown has not prevented companies from making major announcements, even if those announcements did not attract the eyeballs they normally would have. One of those companies making a major announcement despite the postponement was TouchShare, Inc. Besides announcing a company name change and the installation of a new CEO, TouchShare also previewed some new technologies that have applications to the defense and intelligence communities.
“Every time people heard of TouchTable they thought of big horizontal sand tables and their use in the military, which we do, but we are actually more focused on software and software collaboration.”
TouchShare, formerly known as TouchTable, changed its name to make it more apparent to users what kinds of technology solutions TouchShare provides. “Every time people heard of TouchTable they thought of big horizontal sand tables and their use in the military, which we do, but we are actually more focused on software and software collaboration,” said Bob Pette, TouchShare’s new CEO. Pette, who was brought aboard in April, 2013, was formerly the CEO/COO of Perceptive Pixel before its acquisition by Microsoft in July 2012. “The defense and intelligence space is something I’m very passionate about,” said Pette. Besides the name change, additional changes included the introduction of a new logo, tagline (“Decisions in Sight”) and website.
The changes are not all cosmetic, though. TouchShare also introduced several new technology solutions that are designed to help with data analysis and collaboration. Current users of TouchShare products include the U.S. Army, the American Red Cross, various law enforcement agencies, and the intelligence community. Many of these clients struggle with sharing data in real-time across multiple platforms. “The Boston Marathon [bombings] happen and people are trying to figure out who, what, why and when. You get 9/11. You get the Benghazi thing. And coordination is just really hard,” said Pette.
“The initial version is actually designed from feedback we got from one of our biggest users, the XVIII Airborne [Corps].”
One such technology released to address this coordination problem is TouchShare Mobile Access. Mobile Access was developed with input from TouchShare clients. “The initial version is actually designed from feedback we got from one of our biggest users, the XVIII Airborne [Corps],” said Pette. Mobile Access is designed to improve team-wide productivity by giving all collaborators the capability to simultaneously view and contribute to what other team members are seeing in realtime.
To illustrate this capability, Pette gave a real world example of a potential way Mobile Access could be utilized. “If you are about to land in Pakistan and you are collaborating on your tablets in real-time about egress and evacuation routes and where things currently sit, and the latest satellite photos, you lay those on your map, you plan as best as you can, and maybe the last thing you do before you jump off the helicopter is you download the 3D model of Osama Bin Laden’s compound,” said Pette.
Mobile Access was not developed in a vacuum. “We believe Mobile Access is something the military has been asking for,” said Pette. Early response to Mobile Access has been positive. “The XVIII Airborne confirmed that this was their kind of ideal, naked man technology they need,” said Pette. TouchShare sees Mobile Access’s light weight as giving it broad applications. “That first responder, that forward-deployed soldier, is really where we think Mobile Access will get the most traction,” emphasized Pette.
TouchShare also intended to show GEOINT 2013 attendees its Buckeye 3D geospatial collaboration platform. Buckeye has the ability to converge disparate open data sources. “You might want to easily go from looking at a bunch of data points, that are possible terrorist suspects, to double tapping to all of the sudden having a link analysis graph in 3D, where you are looking for that one central point,” said Pette. TouchShare envisions Buckeye as being the future of 3D collaboration. “In my 30 years in the industry, I don’t see a better collaboration platform for data analysis, especially for the defense intelligence and the associated markets like the Coast Guard, state and local police, and homeland security,” said Pette.
“In my 30 years in the industry, I don’t see a better collaboration platform for data analysis, especially for the defense intelligence and the associated markets like the Coast Guard, state and local police, and homeland security.”
The postponement of the GEOINT 2013 Symposium has altered the plans of companies such as TouchShare, but has not deterred them from forging ahead with new technologies and working to apply those technologies to solve data collaboration problems experienced by the defense and intelligence communities. The GEOINT 2013 Symposium, originally scheduled for Oct. 13-16 in Tampa, Fla., will now be held on April 14-17 in Tampa. Despite the delay, TouchShare intends to be in attendance.