Is Technological Innovation Your MO? by Rick McNeight in SpaceCoast Business MagazineSpace Coast Offers Plenty of Opportunities for Small Tech Companies

Highly specialized technological advancements are being made every day from right here on the Space Coast. While we often hear about these cutting-edge breakthroughs from larger, well-known contractors, Brevard County’s small businesses are also making new strides in technology that benefit users across the globe.

Modus Operandi, Inc. (MO), headquartered on the Space Coast since 1984, is a growing software technology company focused on accelerating information discovery, integration and fusion for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) customers in the defense and intelligence communities. At 60 employees and counting and a 14,000-square-foot facility in Melbourne, we are fully entrenched in the business community and have had increasing success in winning new work while servicing existing domestic clients. Our team routinely provides advanced intelligence analysis software to process enormous amounts of structured and unstructured data. This data helps military and government users find and share relevant intelligence for missions.

Technology at Work

Our key business focus has been on leveraging our Wave® technology for enterprise knowledge collaboration and integration. Last year, we began work on new Wave Metacard Generator and XSLT Generator products that work together to automatically create metacards for incoming intelligence messages. They are then published to a Metadata Catalog, facilitating information sharing among analysts.

Recently, Modus Operandi was awarded two phase II SBIR contracts: RDF-F3 and STAFF. The RDF-F3 project will provide a powerful semantic filter designed to significantly reduce the size of Resource Description Framework (RDF) knowledge bases by eliminating redundant information and making it easier to find mission-critical information. The Semantic Targeting and All-source Fusion Framework (STAFF) contract addresses implementing an intelligence analysis framework that fuses together various forms of information into a system that will enable the Navy to effectively track entities of interest. In short, both projects help to reduce the amount of time needed to analyze large amounts of incoming intelligence and improve effectiveness.

Additional products currently under development by the company are the Semantic Wiki, which provides a “Wikipedia-style” interface to intelligence analysts. This provides a powerful user interface to information discovered and fused by our Wave Exploitation Framework semantic search engine product. One of the unique aspects of the Semantic Wiki is its ability to automatically generate the content for a specific topic based on a search model, thus updating the Wiki in real time. All of these advances will help to further the way end users utilize technology.

The Right Workforce

With an understanding of the highly specialized work Modus Operandi is engaged in, it’s clear that operating on the Space Coast allows us to pull from an outstanding pool of capable, technologically savvy workers who are familiar with government and military contracts. As technology increases across the board, contracts have become increasingly sophisticated, requiring complex solutions from skilled team members. Only in Brevard can you find a team where nearly 100 percent of our executive and engineering staff has a college degree and nearly half have advanced degrees. About one-quarter of our employees are industry
certified in software, project management or process improvement programs and approximately 75 percent have security clearances.

Corporate Ties

Modus Operandi’s corporate presence amongst some of the larger local contractors allows us to collaborate and partner with various system integrators and companies to serve our government customers. Companies like Northrop Grumman and SAIC, who have a presence here on the Space Coast, often approach us to partner on specific opportunities where we can bring our niche expertise. Our local government customers have included the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing and the Air Force ISR Agency.

We also work closely with Florida Institute of Technology to place students both as interns and permanent employees. A significant number of current employees are either FIT graduates or currently completing continuing studies at FIT. Additionally, we are starting to build business relationships with FIT in the area of cyber security, with a goal to partner and bid mutually beneficial government research and development programs.

As we continue to hire experienced engineers and win new government and military contracts, the Space Coast will serve as a fitting backdrop for providing new advances to our clients and users everywhere. After all, developing tools to improve software productivity and quality has been our MO for over 25 years.

Rick McNeight is president of Modus Operandi, Inc., an Investor of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.