Kyle Compton, Technical Program Manager at US Ignite, shared insights into the challenges and opportunities surrounding the advancement and modernization of installations at the 2023 Installation Innovation Forum hosted in Florida by the Association of Defense Communities. As the trusted mediator between industry and the Department of Defense (DoD), US Ignite’s unique perspective and expertise were welcomed by all attendee types.  

Keep reading below to explore some of the key points Kyle made.

  • US Ignite is a Trusted Mediator

US Ignite plays a crucial role in navigating the complexities of installation innovation within the DoD. During the panel discussion, Kyle emphasized the difficulty of aligning diverse needs, from smart city vendors to installation operators, and highlighted the importance of cohesive pilots aligned with the strategic vision of senior leadership. Being a smart city non-profit allows US Ignite to mediate effectively and leverage our expertise to benefit DoD partners and industry vendors.

  • Barriers Remain to Be Broken for Startups

Kyle pointed out that defense-oriented startups face an uphill battle that most are unable to survive, where it can take a number of years between deploying a pilot and obtaining funding. To bridge the gap between pilots and fielded capabilities, it is critical for the DoD to build new offices and processes for executing successful pilots at speed and scale

Additionally, there is a glaring need for increased efforts by research and development organizations within the DoD to proactively identify and establish funded requirements as a transition pathway for successful pilots. This can ensure a smoother process for defense-oriented startups, the industry, and DoD.

  • All ‘Installations of the Future’ Form Part of Communities

There is a great need and opportunity in collaboration between installations and their surrounding communities. To illustrate this, Kyle pointed to US Ignite’s Inclement Weather Decision Support (IWDS) App, a tool to help Fort Carson leadership understand the safety implications of bad weather when deciding whether to close the installation or not. Closures are a decision where both the installation and the surrounding community’s response strongly affect one another, so the two should be aligned in approach and work together for optimal processes. 

Installations should work with their community and region for the best results. US Ignite can help connect these two critical players through our network of 50 smart communities across the nation.

  • Data is Critical for Modernizing Installations

Agile data analytics, universal connectivity, and flexible data mesh architectures are all critical components for building installations of the future.

Modern installations will need near-real-time data and the ability to query and analyze it to make rapid and informed decisions. Additionally, ubiquitous advanced networking from the industry will be necessary to securely and safely transfer sensitive data at the speeds and volumes that cutting-edge applications and technologies require.

  • Importance of Public-Private Partnerships:

Considering these possibilities and challenges, Kyle called for all those working in this space to take a wide-angle lens approach, meaning to consider everything that goes into leveraging the latest technologies and invest in the systems, processes, and community relationships necessary to sustain innovation at speed and scale. From that angle, the importance of public-private partnerships cannot be overstated.

Interested in more?

The next Installation Innovation Forum will take place October 28-30 in San Antonio, TX. Meanwhile, learn more about the Smart Bases program and pilot projects here. If you’d like to get monthly updates about US Ignite’s smart bases and communities, sign up for our newsletter here.