IBM Expands Federal Cloud Ecosystem, Spurs First Responders
Under terms of their agreements, the five new partners will resell and market IBM Cloud Services with a focus on implementing hybrid solutions where some applications and data remain on-premises but can easily integrate with systems moved to the cloud and new services launched on the cloud. They also have access to Bluemix, IBM's Platform as a Service; and IBM's Software as a Service portfolio. For the federal market, IBM offers a portfolio of FedRAMP compliant services. In December 2014, IDC named IBM a leader in U.S. Government Private Cloud Infrastructure as a Service. Meanwhile, IBM also announced that it is providing access to the IBM Cloud as part of the First Responder Application Challenge that runs through Dec.14. IBM and its partner Vencore, in coordination with the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) and APCO International, have teamed up to develop an application ecosystem that enables the development and delivery of predictive analytic and mobile applications that can improve the operational capability of first responders, be built and delivered on the cloud, and apply data and innovation to solve real-world problems. This challenge continues IBM's focus on growing an ecosystem to drive further U.S. federal and public sector cloud adoption. IBM also called Bluemix a "game changer" for its ability to "deliver innovation for new cloud workloads" for the federal market. In addition, in its latest Federal Cloud Computing Competitive Landscape Snapshot, Deltek showed IBM leading the market for contracts won between 2011 and 2015. Bluemix, which will be used by challenge participants, is proving to drive innovation in government. Last April, participants in NASA's Space App Challenge used Bluemix, resulting in thousands of new Bluemix users. IBM is currently working with Book Zurman, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), on the Department of Veterans Affairs' Care Coordination Challenge, developing proposed solutions that combine cognitive capabilities with Bluemix applications."The best innovation takes place when you drive toward a common goal," IBM's Altman said. "And it's no different in government, where an ecosystem of developers, academia, technologists and others come together to address challenges. With Bluemix, we bring a cloud platform that can help all those involved in championing better solutions for our first responders through innovation to quickly build and implement new solutions." The U.S. Department of Commerce's First Responder Network Authority's (FirstNet) vision for the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) includes providing an ecosystem where innovative applications are available to first responders that help improve how they carry out their duties and ultimately save lives and property. During the challenge, participants will work directly with vendors and universities to build software applications that use a variety of real-time remote sensing data, field data, GIS tools and other content to create mobile and Web-based apps. Solutions will be created using an operational application ecosystem that will allow first responders and solution providers to work together in a virtual environment designed specifically to deliver effective, tailored first-responder applications. Vencore has developed an application ecosystem using its Intelligent Data Exploitation and Analytics System (IDEAS). Using the latest technology available from IBM, IDEAS delivers predictive analytic solutions, mobile applications, development services and collaboration services to enable first responders to define needs and work directly with providers to build and deploy tailored solutions that meet those needs. "Our IDEAS platform brings together first responders with both content providers and app developers in a collaborative and secure environment with the objective of delivering value-added applications that directly address unmet needs in the public safety community," said Kent Matlick, senior vice president and general manager of Vencore's Mission Integration Group. "Vencore's solution makes these apps easily accessible to the entire public safety community." To win the challenge, participants must build the best solution that addresses one or more of five unmet needs (e.g., improving 9-1-1 services, emergency tracking, first responder assistant apps, easier access to information, preparation and fire prevention), have a fully functioning app installed and running on Bluemix or IDEAS, and submit a written description of how the app functions. Details on the challenge, including criteria, rules, prizes and other information can be found here. Registration is open until Dec. 11.
Moreover, as part of a U.S. Federal Partner Acceleration Program, IBM has boosted the public-sector ecosystem surrounding Bluemix. The team has hosted more than 70 events, including hackathons, challenges and workshops for the federal market and the federal system integrator community. With the growing entrepreneurial, developer and startup ecosystem supporting the federal government, academia and other business areas, the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan area is ripe for this type of innovation.