In-Q-Tel Bets On 3 Hot Technologies - InformationWeek

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In-Q-Tel Bets On 3 Hot Technologies

Intelligence community's investment arm taps artificial intelligence company to turn data into narratives, also invests in flash storage and solar energy products.

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10 Breakthrough DARPA Technologies
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In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the U.S. intelligence community, has signed new technology development agreements with three companies that are producing leading-edge capabilities in the areas of artificial intelligence, flash storage technology and portable solar-generated power supplies.

Narrative Science, based in Chicago, offers an artificial intelligence engine that uses data analytics and language expertise to convert complex data sets into narrative content without user involvement. In-Q-Tel's investment will enable the company to develop a version of its engine for government customers.

The technology "is revolutionizing how organizations make decisions and communicate information from large and disparate sources of data," Stuart Frankel, the CEO of Narrative Science, said in a press release. "The strategic relationship with IQT is further validation that Narrative Science is poised to address a pervasive commercial and market need."

[ Meet IBM's "Engagement Advisor," a computer that can take customer complaints. Read Watson Gets Call Center Job. ]

In a separate move, In-Q-Tel signed an agreement with Mountain View, Calif.-based Pure Storage, which offers an all-flash storage array that costs less than mechanical disk arrays. The company's product, FlashArray, uses in-line data-reduction techniques, including data compression and deduplication, to reduce the size of the data footprint. CEO Scott Dietzen said the company will use In-Q-Tel 's investment to develop solid-stage storage products that are optimized for the needs of government agencies.

Finally, In-Q-Tel will invest in Goal Zero, a Salt Lake City, Utah-based company that specializes in portable solar power systems. The company's products can power everything from cellphones to refrigerators. Goal Zero's solar kits have proven reliable in even the harshest terrains, including supporting climbers on Mount Everest and expeditions in Antarctica.

All three investments stand to benefit government agencies. In-Q-Tel's investment in Narrative Science and Pure Storage could provide better tools to address the potential of big data, as laid out in President Obama's big data initiative announced in March 2012.

Portable power systems based on solar technology, meanwhile, are expected to provide significant benefits to both military and civilian agencies that send personnel into the field, whether Afghanistan or the site of a natural disaster.

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