About 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 collaborative investment.

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 information.

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 costs effectively.

The Edge Team has a proven track record of sharing project components to create successful outcomes from collaborative investments:

Case One. 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 agencies.

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 and self-reinforcing.

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”.