A Visual Edge
EDGE Team members have spent years defining
and refining the elements that evolve successful projects into long
range sustainable programs. Today, this also means acquiring an
understanding of the constraints facing government agencies —financial,
technical, political and human. The condition of each project element
must be evaluated and its cultural aspects and opportunities must
weigh into the larger plan. Ways to streamline the removal of existing
impedance and foster the easy adoption of technology must be developed.
The EDGE team has a proven record of overcoming obstacles like these
through long and trusted relationships among agency partners. We
employ Memoranda of Understanding, consortium building, partnerships,
and collaborative ventures. Successfully employed, such collaborations
provide cost saving efficiencies, reduced redundancy of effort,
and provide quick return on investment. Most importantly, they structure
collaborative investment opportunities which allow multiple agency
participation on a scale unsupportable by individual agency budgets.
Collaborative resource sharing and collaborative ventures support
MMMMMMMMMMMMMM That’s important
to any agency with a budget.
Geospatial technologies are today where computing was when the mainframe
and its terminals morphed into the desktop computer, a change that
pushed engineering, analysis and process control into a new universe
of productivity unthinkable a few years before. The cost of hardware,
application technologies and the cost of projecting interactivity
out to users over cellular and IP transport have fallen phenomenally.
Recent developments in the management and control of visual data
and the networks they traverse—again, like the mainframe-to-desktop
analogy—have pushed network intelligence out to the sensors
and placed human operators in control of new, vibrant oceans of
But the falling price of technology has not been enough to offset
the shrinking budgets that would fund critically-sized visual intelligence
projects, especially in light of the exploding needs and expectations
that current world realities present.
What is needed is a visual intelligence protocol that is sharable
among agencies and offers control of information among a host of
users—while squeezing every advantage out of communications
cost. Sharing resources and making maximum use of existing equipment
through open systems technology makes sense and saves money. But
the real savings come from the combination of budgets to launch
programs large enough to achieve true economies of scale and to
deliver the ability to manage initial and ongoing data transport
The Edge Team has a proven track record of sharing project
components to create successful outcomes from collaborative investments:
In the case of the Coastal Remote Monitoring System, the Alabama
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) teamed to
invest in the primary communications backbone to support the wide
area distribution of full motion video over an 900 square mile area.
This dramatically reduced monthly recurring cost. Since DCNR owns
the network, the agency can negotiate with potential partners to
join the network and share assets where beneficial. Through this
collaborative process, agreements were established with multiple
agency partners to provide access to vertical assets, platform sites,
and in some cases, fiber and copper assets needed to establish network
segments. Molding the program into a single collaborative platform
provided the basis for long term sustainability, cost reduction,
reduced redundancy of effort and fosters good will among partner
Case Two. Collaboration was a core tenet of the model designed
and implemented for the Alabama Department of Homeland Security’s
Virtual Alabama program. The success of the model reinforces the
concept and power of mass collaboration. Agencies at all levels
of government were given the opportunity to share information and
contribute to the system. A strong value proposition resulted from
the ability of partners to give information to the system and in
return, receive free access to the system. The more thoroughly the
principal was exercised, more data became available within the system.
The more data within the system, the more useful the system became
to all the providing partners. The two actions became interdependent
In his new book, Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business
and the World, best selling author Don Tapscott calls
Virtual Alabama “Mass collaboration in Three Dimensions”.
Further, he writes, “Virtual Alabama represents an important
innovation for government and highlights several lessons in mass
collaboration and openness in the public sector”.