Government agencies have been readily adopting mobile technologies over the past decade to deliver self-service applications to their constituents. However, for internal agencies’ needs they are still faced with lack of hardware support, security and infrastructure challenges when trying to leverage smartphones and mobile devices.
3rd Eye Technologies is a leader in addressing these challenges. I recently spoke with Ron Huda, CEO of 3rd Eye Technologies to learn about their new offerings and latest mobility innovations.
Q: Tell me about 3rd Eye Technologies
3rd Eye Technologies was created to address the struggles within government organizations and guide them to take advantage of the enormous capabilities of mobile devices. The federal government has shown a commitment to the procurement and usage of smartphones, tablets and Internet of Things (IoT) devices to enable their employees to do more.
At the core of these devices are applications, and while the majority are for commercial mobile applications, there is a hole that exists in the federal government in relation to custom mobile applications: securely and reliably presenting government-owned data to be viewed on mobile devices while taking advantage of core mobile features such as SMS messaging, email and push to talk notifications. So bottom line, 3rd Eye provides secure, cloud and mobile computing.
“This phone is more powerful than my gun. It allows me to be prepared and aware of my target and the surroundings. This, quite frankly is invaluable to my safety and the safety of my fellow law enforcement agents.”
I’ve spent the majority of my career supporting the US Army, US Homeland Security, and FBI. Agents need the best tools to perform their jobs safely and efficiently. In a conversation with a 20-year Federal agent, who had worked on high profile cases such as Robert Hansen’s insider threat case to the David Koresh Branch Dravidian Raid, the quote I most remember is, “This phone is more powerful than my gun. It allows me to be prepared and aware of my target and the surroundings. This, quite frankly is invaluable to my safety and the safety of my fellow law enforcement agents.”
When I heard this, it began motivating me to research application development for the various agencies to provide field applications to help agents do their jobs – at the best of their abilities.
Q: What are your products?
We currently offer many products ranging from full Platform as a Service (PaaS), which consists of a core set of REST API’s allowing mobile applications to integrate using a secure, encrypted proprietary Software Development Kit (SDK), and reliably perform secure data transactions, email and text messaging and push notifications to mobile devices. Additionally, we have three major mobile applications:
- Zodiac – our situational awareness, geo-fencing mobile application built on the Android Platform that allows a user to be aware of their current location, surrounding landmarks and data that is retrieved from a specific custom data source. It leverages fingerprint authentication and has a common Google Maps look-and-feel. It is a geographical location driven mobile application.
- An encrypted, messaging-archival application – which allows users to offload text messages, voice messages and other native phone data in the cloud for search and discovery. This use case was derived from insider threat protocols at numerous government organizations that have high-risk functions that can be compromised by internal rogue employees.
- A mobile application, content repository with flexible, customization components which showcases user functionality and can be re-skinned, and changed out-of-the-box within an hour to be representative of an organization’s core app. This application follows the old portal theme that was popular in the early 2000s, or SharePoint in the 2010s which allows for the mobile version of these tools.
Q: Who’s using this technology?
Our mobile apps are currently implemented within FBI, Department of Justice and some organizations within the State Department. Our range is increasing to provide mobile applications to the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) and state and local law enforcement. This provides law enforcement end users with functionality to make jobs easier and more efficient by reducing the number of emails being sent.
The complexity of reading multiple emails with comparative notes makes work more microscopic in nature – while the pieces of information that are truly relevant are related are analyzed later. We solve this problem by producing more efficient work cycles, which cuts out redundancy and allows the aggregation of data that is empirical, which then can be analyzed and compared with historical data.
Data collected by endpoint devices promotes rapid data exchange and collection, which proliferates into data silos and segmented information. Retrieving this data quickly and with context is the next logical extension, otherwise there is no value to the data. The discovery, searchability, preservation and analysis of information are all achieved through our custom connector – which we have developed to connect with MarkLogic’s REST APIs. The combination works together to build a solid infrastructure for big data and mobile integration – the first of its kind in this industry.
Q: What is new in your latest version of Zodiac?
To extend on our previous data points: Our initial implementation was built connecting to Cloudera and Hadoop implementations of HBase, HDFS and Cloudera Search. While the implementation was successful, there were limitations with Cloudera, which reduced performance of our APIs on mobile devices. One instance was the querying logic: our structured data was stored in JSON and XML, which did not fit into Cloudera HBase as it follows a Google Big Table columnar design.
In addition, Cloudera only provided security based on rows and columns and lacked the document-level restrictions. MarkLogic, which natively stores the data in JSON and XML, gave us the level of security that our customers require by providing 3rd Eye Technologies with document-level access controls and temporal support. Additionally, MarkLogic was built to be deployed anywhere: on premise, in the cloud or in hybrid instances.
This [being deployment agnostic] was essential, since our cloud-based platform requires deployment on Amazon Web Services, Azure or any other Linux supported cloud provider. Our latest version allows the ability to search and perform analytics by allowing us to integrate our custom privileged access dashboard with the MarkLogic REST APIs to build a next-generation, data visualization tool at 3rd Eye Technologies – which takes mobile analytics to the next level. We are excited to work with MarkLogic as our exclusive database back end for our software.
Q: How do you see the new capabilities being used by your customers?
Customers will be impacted directly with the new capabilities using mobile applications, data visualization dashboard and our REST APIs. The performance has already been super! In benchmark tests, the search results are faster and the ability to protect data using access controls and documents are encrypted at rest – which will have security teams at federal agencies a little more at ease. By inheriting these security controls from MarkLogic, we already have made an impact with customers.
For example, the ability to operate in the cloud requires an “authority to operate” order, which is predicated on security, data storage and retention on the cloud. MarkLogic is truly providing 3rd Eye with many capabilities of the box, which allows us to focus on building mobile solutions instead of spending engineering efforts on security and cloud migration.
We plan on aligning with their resilient approach of moving forward and teaming up to be at the forefront of mobile, cloud and big data technology for years to come. We foresee nothing but success in the near term and future.