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DHS Ups Its Big Data Game, Asks Vendors What They've Got

United States Army Corps of Engineers

The Homeland Security Department wants to make big data analysis a bigger part of its mission, contracting documents show.

The department is asking big data vendors to compete for the opportunity to present their products to Homeland Security technology staffers and contractors. DHS will use the presentations to inform future technology purchases, according to the request for information posted on Wednesday.

Big data refers to new technologies that are able to spot patterns in large volumes of unstructured information, such as video and satellite feeds or chemical and biological sensors. The technology has been used extensively by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot suspicious activities and to a lesser extent by the civilian government to root out fraud in federal programs and gather better data about program performance.

“The purpose of this RFI is to ascertain available sources to provide widely used big data infrastructure, computing, storage, analytics, and visualization capabilities that are based on open source or commonly available commercial technologies and represent technology options of high value to the future of homeland security,” the notice said.

After vetting applications, the department will choose 20 vendors to present their technologies. Some vendors that aren’t picked to present will be able to watch the presentations via webcast on a first come first served basis, the notice said. 

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