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In-Q-Tel Invests In 2 Cloud Technologies

U.S. intelligence community investment group partners with cloud firms Socrata and AppThwack to make government information more accessible.

Top 10 Government IT Innovators Of 2013
Top 10 Government IT Innovators Of 2013
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In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the U.S. intelligence community, has entered into strategic partnerships with two cloud-oriented software developers, one specializing in data harvesting and presentation and the other offering remote mobile application testing.

Seattle-based Socrata offers a software platform that allows analysts to turn raw data from many different kinds of sources into useful information and output the results in the form of dashboards, application programming interfaces, apps and visualizations.

The company focuses exclusively on ways to improve access to government data for citizens, employees and developers through its GovStat, API Foundry and open-data portal products. Socrata counts a number of governmental entities among its clients, including the World Bank, Medicare,, the states of Oregon and Maryland, and Chicago, San Francisco and New York City.

[ How prescient were last year's government cloud predictions? See 10 Ways Government Clouds Have Changed This Year. ]

"The Socrata data platform is quick to deploy, easy to use, and can be adapted to a wide range of applications, allowing business analysts to do what data scientists have historically done," said IQT's Robert Ames, senior VP of information and communication technologies, in the press release announcing the deal.

Ames praised the company's "innovative analysis and visualization technology," which he said addresses important requirements in the government market. "Our focus with open data has always been to develop innovations that make enterprise data useful for the other 99% of users who are not data scientists by training," said Kevin Merritt, Socrata's founder and CEO, in the press release announcing the IQT investment.

IQT's second investment is in AppThwack, which provides cloud-based access to its laboratories equipped with more than 200 mobile devices -- cellphones, tablets, and personal media players -- enabling developers to conduct automated Android, iOS and Web browser app testing.

The Portland, Ore.-based company builds the automation tools used to conduct the tests and provides services such as test reports and performance profiles for apps being evaluated. Mozilla and Symantec are among AppThwack's customers.

"Due to the wide adoption of apps, both for external and internal use, along with increasingly popular internal app markets and [BYOD] policies, there's a great need to test and vet apps within the enterprise," said Jay Emmanuel, senior VP of IQT's mobility practice, when the investment firm announced the arrangement. "AppThwack's technology provides an excellent user interface and easy-to-read reports, making it easier to quickly identify problems before deploying mobile applications. We're excited to extend this capability to our Intelligence Community partners."

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