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CASE STUDIES

Incorporating transformational ideas—and the expertise,

the technology and the know-how to back them up. 

AWS Cloud Migration

CHALLENGE

THE FIX

OUTCOME

The US Army’s primary airborne Communication Intelligence (COMINT) platform is a fleet of RC-12N aircraft whose mission is to fly over the theater of operation and gather voice and digital communication intelligence. This classified platform was suffering from aging compute systems, outdated network interconnects, and a software architecture that made major feature and capability enhancements difficult, lengthy, and expensive.

The Army’s planned successor COMINT platform was delayed by 10 years due to design and funding issues.The current platform needed to be modernized, and its surveillance capabilities upgraded to support the COMINT mission for an additional 10-15 years.

  • The COMINT platform has receivers, antennae, embedded computers, and other components in the aircraft, and a large mobile ground based system that is positioned at forward operating locations in theater. The ground station system supports as many as 40 personnel performing as mission operators, intelligence analysts, and other mission specialists.

  • A hybrid cloud architecture was determined to be most effective new platform. A ‘private cloud’ operating on servers in the mobile ground station communicates with a classified AWS cloud platform based in the U.S. over the military’s secure global networks.

  • The ground station hardware architecture was redesigned from 40+ host and VME based single board computers, to racks of SPARC and Intel based blade servers. The software consisting of 5 million lines of code was redesigned and virtualized using VMware into 22 virtual host servers running Solaris, Linux, and Windows operating systems.

  • Complex and evolving analytics were virtualized, containerized, and hosted in the intelligence community’s classified AWS cloud platform via secure network connections. Terabytes of ‘intelligence products’ gathered by the COMINT during missions were pushed to the classified AWS cloud platform for deep analytical processing for actionable intelligence.

  • Many AWS services were used to warehouse the data and deliver the advanced analytics of the intelligence data, including but not limited to: EC2, ECS, Snowmobile, Lambda, S3, Athena, Kinesis, and Redshift.

The hybrid cloud design encompassing a mobile forward-based ‘private cloud’ of VMware virtual machines operating with remote AWS Cloud based data repositories, analytics, and dissemination is now easily upgraded and enhanced with new compute resources and analytical functions.

The reengineering and migration of this complex COMINT system to the cloud platform allows it to continue performing as a premier intelligence system for at least a decade beyond its original mission lifespan. 

 
 

AWS Cloud Computing

CHALLENGE

THE FIX

OUTCOME

Client is a cutting-edge biotech startup that develops novel DNA sequencing technologies. They have an innovative DNA sequencing solution utilizing Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) platforms. The client has expertise in developing bioinformatics data analysis pipelines, but lacks the software design and development expertise to create a product from their innovative process.

The NGS platform and bioinformatics software generates a large number of data sets with a large volume of data in each set. This ‘big data’ problem requires a significant amount of computing resources to process and analyze. The computing workloads required by the client’s process have unpredictable resource requirements for various proof of concept projects that are required to design, build, and test the DNS sequencing product.

The client does not want to raise and commit the upfront capital investment required to build out their own computational hardware and software robust enough to develop the product. 

  • Create software development and test infrastructure on the AWS Cloud Platform rather than building out an on-premises data center.

  • Migrate the data analysis pipeline processes to the cloud architecture.

  • Establish company's DevOps environment in the cloud.

  • Retool the data analysis pipeline processes to make them cloud native and take advantage of the elasticity of the cloud architecture.

  • Employ AWS spot instances to reduce the cost of long running processes.

  • Container-based software delivery mechanisms to customers are planned.

Significantly reduced upfront investment in capital and time needed to secure necessary computing resources and establish a software DevOps environment.By utilizing the AWS Cloud Platform, the client has been able to focus it’s work and investment on turning its innovations into a product. Firmly established company's cloud presence, and immediately brought the company to the forefront of cutting-edge IT technologies. Streamlined software development process to enable Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) using AWS services.

Established a solid foundation to allow future growth in a flexible and scalable way, while enabling easy online software delivery and integration solutions for their customers.

The client also has been able to educate and train software and bioinformatics developers and scientific staff on the cloud computing skills needed in today’s fast changing and highly competitive landscape.

 

IOT-Enabled Consumer Appliances

CHALLENGE

THE FIX

OUTCOME

Client’s legacy line of consumer appliances is extremely successful but recently losing market share, jeopardizing market leadership.​ Competitors are making inroads through more advanced technology, fast-moving innovation, and cost competitiveness.

Client faces increasing competition at both the high end and the low end of the market.

​Client has the financial resources to build on their technical capabilities and is continuing to do this, but the clock is ticking, and time is running out.

  • A collaborative effort combining engineering resources from the client and resources and expertise from an on-shore service provider was started.

  • A very close working relationship was established combining engineers from both organizations working together at the client site, in addition to critical expertise quickly ramped working in another US-based facility.

  • Quickly, an IoT test platform was developed, combining basic hardware components of the appliances with a flexible and extendable custom software platform.

  • ​A system of continuous innovation was established and leveraged.

Client is now able to experiment with proposed IoT functionality and features for the appliances along with options for back end connectivity and enterprise value-added services. As new IoT features were tested, validated, and ruled in or out—continuing engineering of the platform accelerated its value.

​Client is in the process of productizing and rolling out new IoT-enabled features and functionality in a fast development cycle.The quick response combining the expertise of both organizations in a close and efficient collaboration was critical. The combination of client market leadership with advanced IoT connectivity and features and value-added services from back end systems will be extremely difficult, or impossible, for competitors to match.  

 

Connected Manufacturing Equipment

CHALLENGE

THE FIX

OUTCOME

Client is a leader in a certain type of manufacturing equipment Leadership was built over many years in a niche but steadily-growing market. Value-added products – both hardware and software – were consistently added over time.

Market share and pricing pressure from established competitors making large investments in technology along with new technology-based upstarts was progressively getting more intense. Client has significant manufacturing domain experience and expertise but lacks expertise in advanced software technologies.

  • The client engineering group combined forces with a US-based software services partner, offering close collaboration within the same time zone.

  • After an initial analysis, several legacy equipment control systems were combined, refactored, and redeveloped into an advanced control system of the future.

  • Seamless connectivity to the value-added software products was created

  • Client’s product line was upgraded to the new control system, one product at a time.

  • Additionally, the connectivity and advanced technology of the equipment control system deployed in the field, offered the opportunity for real-time data collection from the equipment.

  • New cloud applications are being developed on Amazon Web Services for data collection, storage, and analysis of production data— providing increased equipment performance and reliability to the end customer.

Legacy client domain leadership combined with advanced software technologies from the service provider proved to be a game changer for client’s business. Client’s visibility into equipment operations in the field have never been better. bThe rate of improvement to client products is increased.

The rate of product innovation is accelerating. By utilizing the AWS Cloud Platform, client has been able to focus it’s work and investment on turning its innovations into a product.Company's cloud presence is firmly established; immediately brought it  to the forefront of cutting edge IT technologies.Streamlined software development process to enable Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) using AWS services.

Established a solid foundation to allow future growth in a flexible and scalable way, while enabling easy online software delivery and integration solutions for their customers. Client now able to educate and train software and bioinformatics developers and scientific staff on the cloud computing skills needed in today’s fast changing and highly competitive landscape.

 

Silent Propeller

CHALLENGE

THE FIX

OUTCOME

Client is the US Navy, Naval Foundry Propeller Center and Office of Naval Research, which manufactures propellers and propulsors for submarines, particularly the USS Virginia and NAS class vessels. Manufacturing propellers for the US submarine fleet is demanding, with requirements for both strength and precision. Each propeller must conform to the mathematical model to ensure silent subsurface operation. A complicating factor is that the design and composition of submarine propellers is classified by the Department of Defense.

Client’s operation suffered from outdated post-foundry processing of propeller components, processing that is required to find defects, remediate manufacturing issues, and certify completed propellers for use in the fleet. Client’s Automated Propeller Optical Measurement System (APOMS) is a highly-precise, non-contact inspection and measurement system employing a robot with 6 degrees of freedom and a 20-foot movement area. APOMS was based on outdated compute systems, slow vision processing, and outdated motion control technology for the robot. Together, these issues created extremely long inspection and analysis times necessary to achieve the level of precision required. 

  • The aging APOMS was replaced by the Measurement Technology System (MTS), applying a clean-sheet design to the mission requirements. A unique, one of a kind system was developed from the custom integration of proven commercially available components and custom software for motion control, data acquisition, and analytics.

  • The system was developed using an ABB industrial robot, Güdel Industries commercial gantry, a Leica high-resolution laser tracker/scanner with Polyworks, high precision rotary indexing table capable of rotating a 75-ton propeller.

  • The new MTS system implemented an 8-degree of motion design by inverting the robot carrying the Leica scanner/tracker, allowing for the seamless inspection of every component and angle of the propelle

The MTS system achieves an optical scan point-cloud density that is twice the density of the replaced system. The time required to scan a propeller was cut in half.

The design of the MTS completely eradicates human error, a persistent problem with the original system that required frequent rescanning of the propeller.

The operation of the APOMS system was difficult and error-prone. The MTS system however allows for one-button control featuring a modern UX/UI for clarity of control.