New technologies displayed at the premier U.S. information technology event show the future is intense in the evolving cyberspace rivalry among manufacturers and battles against crime and terrorist threats.
The Federal Office Systems Exposition and conference in Washington is aimed at government information technology professionals, a major procurement and purchasing community but draws visitors from across the United States and the rest of the world.
Current debate on cybersecurity and how cybercrime or cyberterrorism could disable national and international systems has given IT and security industries a huge boost. Delegates at the FOSE 2010 said security industry growth could be worth hundreds of billions of dollars in the United States alone in the coming years and would likely stimulate copycat development in Europe and East Asia.
Innovative technologies drew thousands of visitors to the show but industry analysts said the event’s real importance lay in how new gadgetry on display would intensify competition and rivalry in cyberspace.
A balanced view offered at the talks was that for every device displayed to counter crime and defeat terrorism there would be risk of new products falling into the wrong hands and challenging the main concepts behind the invention.
The show, Tuesday-Thursday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, comes amid warnings the stakes are high in cyberspace and more investment is called for.
As the federal market is a very important customer for IT and security companies, the focus at FOSE was on attracting government visitors’ attention to new gadgets that could be put civilian law enforcement and military uses.
Anthony Zuiker, creator and executive producer of the hit television drama series, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” outlined how governments could boost information-sharing across agencies using new technologies.
Zuiker indicated there was need not only to leverage technology to make government more efficient but to make it more responsive to citizen needs and reactive to future challenges.
Many of the inventions on display are hand-held gadgets that could be applied to both civilian and military use.
A powerful new WiFi Investigator will enable law enforcement agents to easily specify locations in requests for search warrants or immediately apprehend suspect devices, including laptops, pocket PCs, smart phones, wireless cameras and network access points.
The PS236 is a hand-held communications powerhouse with built-in GPS and wireless wide-area network, WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities suitable for both civilian and military use.
The tiny unit offers a variety of additional features, including a built-in 3-megapixel auto-focus camera, an altimeter, an electronic compass, extended battery life, real-time voice and data communications, and as much as 12G of internal storage, wrote John Breeden II in a review of the show for Government Computer News Web site.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re in the rain forest or arctic because this baby is fully rugged, meeting even the tough military specifications,” Breeden said.
Users can capture critical geographic information as a JPEG file and transmit the data anywhere in the world.
Another innovation seems designed for sticky situations when an embassy or a government office is overrun so fast that those inside are left with little time to get rid of sensitive information.
The Proton T-4 from Proton Data Security produces powerful magnetic pulses to erase sensitive data instantly.
The RamSan-20 from Texas Memory Systems takes storage to a new frontier. Featuring a 450-gigabyte drive on a tiny PCIe card, the device packs in onboard processors, ultracapacitors and enterprise-grade Single-Level Cell chips.
The drives are engineered for extreme efficiency, performance and reliability without affecting host performance and a designed to last for at least 12 years — a long time in terms of technological innovation.