Tech Talk: Transition to Practice Program
Hello, and welcome the Tech Talk this. Is the Department of Homeland Security Science, and Technology, Directorate for those of you not familiar with us we are the research and development arm that, helps to support the Homeland Security mission, across, all of the operational, components, the nation's first responders and. Critical infrastructure, not. A small mission and the, research and development arm has, to try to support, all of these things by working with industry, and universities, and laboratories to. Try to find some technological solutions. To the challenges that, are faced it on the front line, one. Of those challenges happens. In the realm of cybersecurity, and so we're here today to talk about some. Unique ways of how we're approaching some of these cybersecurity challenges. One. Of the challenges, that we have in research, and development in, itself is. Transitioning. Technology. From, the laboratory, idea, and a laboratory concept. Into. The commercial market actually getting it into the hands of people who can use it so, with me today is our program manager in. Our cybersecurity division. Here at the Department Homeland Security Science and Technology, Directorate. Dr.. Nadia Carlston, welcome. You're. The program manager for our transition. To practice program. The. Program identifies, promising, federally, funded cyber security technologies. That. Have done, research, projects, and, accelerates, their transition, from the laboratory, out to the marketplace so. Nadia. Welcome. Again and tell me a little bit about the transition to practice program. To. Practice, TTP, for short is really, an accelerator, program for federally, funded technologies. What. We do is we find technologies, that already exists. In research. Organizations. And commercialize. Them so that they become widely available to, users and so that they can actually be used to, address some of the security challenges and, problems that we're seeing. How. How, did this program, come about where, did this come from what a great idea so. Only a fraction, of. R&D. Actually, ever results. In a. Product. That is at, the operational, stage for that is commercially. Available, that's, the problem that TTP. Was set up to try to address. Part. Of that is part of the normal. Innovation, process, of course not all research, projects, are going to lead a commercial, product but, when it comes to federal research. And development, there are some key challenges. That make it hard to get those technologies, out of the labs and into the hands of users so. In 2012. Out of a White House initiative. TTP. Was created, specifically. To address transition. Of these federally, funded technologies. Well. That's pretty cool. You. Know this is uh this. Is a unique unique. Kind of a program in the government you don't normally see this kind of thing so. By. The way folks, please, be feel, free to ask, questions that's, what this is an open forum for so. Please do post, your questions here on the Tech Talk and we'll be happy, to get to them as we can but, I do have some more questions obviously, I want to know more about how this works I mean the program was was, developed, to to, bridge the gap between research, and the, marketplace, and, I know that we frequently call, this the, valley of death you know this is the point where you, have technology reaches, a certain point in its development, stage which may be a functional, prototype but. Then the, researchers. Don't really seem to understand, how to then. Take, it get it out to the commercial market mass-produce. It whatever and actually, get people using, it so we call that the valley of death that that unique problem, so tell, me something about some of the challenges that you're facing ah yes so. Did the big problem, the overall problem is that these technologies that are coming out of research organizations. Like labs and universities they're, very early-stage so. What that means is when, we get to them there's still a significant, amount of work that needs to be done, in order, to get the technology more mature to.
Get It to a readiness, level, where somebody's, actually going to be interested, in trying it out in their environment, or an investor, is actually going to be interested, in potentially, licensing, the technology, so, there's a couple gaps, that we have to address one of them is a funding, gap there's. Just not that many, investors, out there, willing, to invest in technologies, that are very early-stage. And another. One that you touched on is the, capabilities. Gap. Commercialization. Is something, that's really hard that a lot of researchers, just don't get training for so. Really. We're, bringing these skills, and expertise, to try to do this for. These technologies and, they normally wouldn't have access to, all of that and our process, was really designed with that in mind so we are addressing all of these different, types of challenges that we're seeing for, these technologies. And our goal is to put them to a process where they come out stronger, in the end because, they've addressed all of these challenges so. We're. Talking about technologies. That, were, funded, by government. Funds either in, a government lab or universities. Things. Like that where we have actually provided the funding to get, something developed, so, who are some of these partners. That you're working with on this. Federally. Funded technology, right so it's interesting because we actually work with both government and the private sector to try, to maximize these opportunities, so on the one hand when we select technologies, we're working, with multiple sources, of. R&D. Basically, everywhere. Where federal R&D is going on so that includes the federal laboratories. Including. Some of the Department, of Energy National Labs as well, as Department of Defense affiliated, labs. FFRDCs. And universities. So really a lot of different sources that we pull from and. In on the other hand we're also working with government. Agencies and DHS components and, the private sector and they're, the ones that are helping pilot, these technologies, given. Us feedback in, requirements. About them and ultimately, help. Us by. Piloting, and licensing, the technologies, as they're coming out of coming. Out of the program so it's really kind of both sides, and. We're. Acting, as a connector, between, those two sides and creating these partnerships, well, it you, know dr. Carlston you. You. Come with a background. In, intellectual. Pretty. Management. Enterprise innovation I, know you worked in, the past at Accenture. And at the Department of Energy so, you've got a lot of background coming into this and you kind of know what you're looking for I guess as you're evaluating, technology. So how, do you choose the technologies, that you're pulling out of the labs, and bringing, into the program that's. A great question so I'm primarily looking for two things number. One, it's. Good, that the technology. Is. Innovative. In some way it needs to have a new approach and addressing the problem because. It is so hard to transition technologies. Out of these labs it really needs to be something new we can't just be looking at incremental, innovation. And. Ideally, there would be some intellectual, property, associated with it as well because that makes it a lot more attractive and then. The second thing that we take into consideration, is what we know but the existing, landscape so. Timing and alignment, are very critical in this process we. Have to make sure that all of the technologies, that we advancing, are actually, couldn't be appealing. And interesting to. Users, and investors, down the road, you. See existing, landscape, it's kind of like an awareness, of what's going on in the world what kinds of things are needed absolutely. So we need to be in tune with the needs of operational, users both in the government as well as in the industry so. One of the things that we do is engagement. With. Those users to actually, learn more about their, needs what, what. Technologies, already exists, and what gaps, are, in those technology, so what is it that we can bring to the table that, they don't already have access to in the commercial market Wow so. What kinds. Of technologies, you're currently have in your program so, we focused, on cybersecurity applications. And we've built over the years a very strong very diverse, portfolio of, technologies that, it is very diverse in terms of the topics.
The, Cyber topics, that it's addressing, so, we have several. Network. Technologies. We. Also have several, technologies, that address the. Security. Of, industrial. Infrastructure. As well as critical, structure, and. We. Have several tools that really, are targeted, towards cyber, analysts. Helping, make their job easier for. Example helping them analyze malware very, quickly or respond, to threats and gather, intelligence about, threats very quickly and, I should mention that we also have a few, technologies, in the portfolio that are more in the realm of data analytics and visualizations, so they have much broader applications. And could potentially be interested interesting. Even to, people. Who may not be cybersecurity. Focused. Oh. And. I know that these technologies. Go, through a kind of a rigorous process. Can. You kind, of explain the the process and how it goes how the technologies. Go through or, evolve through the process when. They're coming through PTV sure, yeah soon as a rigorous process so, after, they're selected, as a cohort, they go through a series of activities, that. Really have been designed, to number. One increase, the maturity, of the technology and. Then, make them more ready for, getting. Into the marketplace so. Two. Things that we focus on the first one is validating. The technology, and we. Do that including. By doing, testing, of the, capabilities. Testing. The functionality. And the security, of the technology, trying, it out in different operational. Environments, and. The second thing we'll look at is different applications. In different markets, that we can be targeting, and different business, models, to make the technology successful. So, the combination, of those two things really, give us a very good idea what type of opportunities, we should be pursuing for each technology, and, then. What we do is we have a series, of demo, days where. We introduce, the technologies, to people, so. Different groups. We try to get diverse. Crowds. And each of the demo days, and. They give us feedback and, they give us information about what their. Needs are and that, interaction leads, to, very. Good information about who we should be targeting, and. Helps us do some matchmaking, between. Our technologies, and people. Who would be ideal, candidates. As development. And commercialization, partners. So, by. The end of the process what, we're looking for is the technologies. Have had. Several rounds of interactions, with users they've gone through testing. They've, done a couple of pilots, and that. Combined, with the training that we make available means. That the heavy product, that is now much, stronger, much. Closer to the marketplace and much more appealing to licensees, and investors, a, couple. Of things you mentioned, one, thing you mentioned was a cohort, and. Could. You just briefly describe, what you mean by a by a cohort sure so each year when we select technologies, we usually select them in groups. Of about eight so. We, have the, 2017. Cohort is our latest cohort, and, that's the group of technology that was selected. In 2018. In, 2017. So most. Of the activities, they do as a cohort so when you come to a demo day for example you come and see the 2017, cohort. There's a 2016. Cohort, great thank you that, helps to understand, that, process and, on the demo days you. Also talked about you know bringing a variety of people so I'm assuming this is is it a combination, of potential. End users, as well as potential, investors, at the demo days or the, investors kind of come in later it's. Actually a combination so. Partnerships. In general with the private sectors have really been key to our success and, we kind of see people interested. In the program coming, from all backgrounds, for. Technology, investors, they love to come to the demo days because it's really a one-stop, shop for them to, see technologies, that have been pulled from all across the labs across the US and. We've also done quite a bit of work in de-risking, the technology, for them by having, it go through our validation, process.
But. The interaction, with systems, integrators, and IT professionals, cybersecurity professionals that, also attend the demo days is very valuable so they're the ones that give us a lot of first-hand information about, what, the needs are what, the specific, requirements. Are and also, information about whether they're interested in doing a pilot or, not so it's really this ability, to pull from different groups that makes it such a great event great great. For those of you just tuning in, shame. On you for being late but you'll be able to watch the early part in the in the replay, once, it's once, it's posted but. We're here with dr. Nadia. Carlston. Who, is with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology, Directorate, and who runs the transition. To practice program helping to transition. Prototype. Technologies, out of government funded research and, into, the commercial market so, Nadia. Just going back to to. This concept, of making, this transition. How. Do you. Talked about the demo days is one of these opportunities so kind, of explain a little bit for us how the technologies. Actually, get. Connected to the marketplace right. So, we're very focused on commercialization. But we, are very flexible in, terms of, the transition path so every technology tends to get there in a different way. Mainly. Licensing. Agreements, are the way that we facilitate, transition. So. There's, kind of a couple scenarios the. First one is an, established, company coming to us looking. For a technology, either because, they have something on the market already and they're looking for, IP. To, complement, what they already have and they can license it from us instead, of reinventing the wheel on their own, but. They could also be coming to us because you want to get into a new market or create a brand new product line so, we've actually worked with both kinds, another. Way that we, support commercialization. Is by helping create new startups, so that's actually very exciting, so the, technologies. Are spin off of the labs and universities and.
In Those cases we work with investors, to help get, them set output funding, and having the company, being formed but, we formed, seven such, startups, that didn't create, previously. And. They're. Now on a, try. New solid product on the market and. They're fully fledged companies. Another. Thing that we do is we support open source which. A lot of people don't realize because, we're so focused on commercialization. But in some cases that, is the best way to get, the technology into, a lot, of users so. That it is a model, that we support in some cases and, of course we've also been able to transition technologies. Back to government users in many cases, so, taking the technology that was funded by one, agency and introducing, it to another federal. Agency tends, to be something that we do quite a bit of. That's. A unique that, that. Kind of makes sense and we never thought of it we are getting some questions from, Facebook thank you folks so, one of the questions is are there limits to how develop. The techniques, to be in order to be selected, and is it limited to brand-new technology. So. In terms of maturation level. We. Usually, look at something, that's. Beyond. The proof of concept stage. It. Doesn't, need to be much beyond, that so. It can, be brand new it's usually if, not. A new technology a new approach, to do something. And. Then. I think the second part of the question is does it need to be brand new technology. No. Not really, if there's some new intellectual, property, or addresses. A problem in a new way we'll consider that as well okay. And. Another. Question was, about the demo days and so. Where are these demo days held I know that you hold them in various locations, and. For. Various types of audiences, so, where. Are they held and when's the next one so. We do try to have them in. Different locations so that we can really, attract, a lot of different groups to come to the demo days we usually have four to five a year we, always have one in Washington DC, and one in Silicon Valley and.
Then She try to target different sectors, we. Try different cities so we've had one in New York for a few years where we really, try to appeal, to the financial, services sector and. We've, done one in Texas, a couple times to, showcase. The technologies, to people. From the, gas and oil industry so, those who are very interesting, the. Next one we're planning, will probably, be sometime. In September so, I would say if somebody is interested in attending the demo day they, should send us an email so we can put them on the mailing list and, they will have all of the details about the next one great, well we will have the email address, up on the on the page, here shortly. Meanwhile. Who. Are. The target, audiences, you, try to engage with on these technologies, like who are who, are the, end-users, and who. Are the what, types of industries you're looking for so. In, terms of industries, it can really be anyone, I mean, cybersecurity, is, such a broad problem that, we really tend to get people from, anything. From healthcare to energy, to, consumer. Products, so. Industry doesn't matter as much, what. We like to see is people who. Are, somewhere. Technical, who are going to be able to understand, the technology, and its application then. It's possible. Utility. In. Terms of types, of organizations, we've worked with larger organizations we, worked with very small organizations, so really that doesn't matter otherwise, exactly. So what we're really looking for is somebody who has an interest in Licensing, these technologies, or at least exploring, that as a possibility. Or. Who. Has the. Opportunity to, pilot some of these technologies, maybe they have a test, or an operational, environment that. They're. They're. Interested. In in seeing how these technologies perform. Pilot. Opportunities, is very. Interesting, I think a lot of people are going to be interested. To know more about thing so. Let's. So. Let me ask you that as you you've been very successful, in this program I think there have been about. 40, technologies, that have been brought into the program since. Its inception and, you recently transitioned, your twentieth so literally, half your portfolio, is already, now transitioned, which is a fabulous, success rate, what. Made this so successful, and can, you give us a few examples of some of these successful, transitions, right yes, so it is a remarkable. Milestone one, that, we're very excited about. In. Terms of what has made it successful, I think as, a program, it's the fact that we do tackle, all of the different problems, in in, bridging, this value of death that we talked about earlier. We're. Helping. Create startups were, helping. Them find funding, we're also helping with licensing.
Our Flexibility. In really finding the best way for each technology to become commercially, available, is. Something. That that makes us unique and differentiates. Us and. Also, helps us get very, good. Partners. In this development. And commercialization, process, and, that's very important, because. Everything, we do we do in partnership with. On the one hand the research, community and on the other hand with the private sector and our, government, users, in. Terms of the technologies, themselves they've. All, been very different, they all they. Span different, topic, areas, I'd. Say what they all had in common was, the fact that they all approached, a problem in a very unique, way and they were also very strong from a technical and intellectual, property standpoint, so that made it very easy to get high-caliber. Partners. Interested, in the technologies, so, one of the examples of that was pact scan which, was HTTP, technology, that. Was licensed. By Ernst & Young and, it's actually still now being. Used and it's very successful for them they're using, it as part of their cybersecurity, services. Another. Example, could you tell us what that one it what it is or what it does sure, so it helps people, detect, Network anomalies, so, as you can imagine that's, actually, very important, especially for large enterprises. And, another one is a packrat. So very different in terms of technology, that one really focuses, on physical. Security. Blending. It with cybersecurity so, again very unique. Type of technology, and that. One was licensed, to be integrated, in something, that was already on the market which. Was, a you know different from pat scan and that one. Is commercially. Available as, well and. The really interesting thing, is it's now also being used in a couple of government, organizations. Which. Is pretty cool. And then in. Terms of startups our latest ones sign. - just reach the seed round they're. Integrating. A couple. Of technologies, that they found through the TTP program, these were teacher, inspired cybersecurity. Technologies. And. They are using members nature-inspired. Okay. Yeah and they're. Using them to protect. Industrial. Control systems, and critical infrastructure. Can, you explain. Which, mean by nature-inspired, nestle, sure, detail. On that one so one of the technologies, is. Called millstones, and it's actually very interesting. It, uses. The. Same principles, as. Biologists. Use for, protein. Sequencing, - to, group. Classes. Or families, of proteins, together and applying, it to cybersecurity. So. Very, unique approach as you can imagine, and. We're, just, very excited that sign. Ash is now going to be using it in. Conjunction with. Some other technologies. To actually address this really important problem of critical infrastructure, Wow. Excellent, well, we're getting some more questions in so. So let's let's go to the poll here. Tech, adoption, rates within first responder communities have been historically, forced, upon, sharp. End users, those. Actually. Doing the work from, upstream, to downstream and, organizations, how. Can technology advancements. And adoption, rates be moved in the opposite, direction as, the, end user is actually in position, to see how modifying, technology, can be altered to, reduce gaps it's, kind of a long question but I think we have the gist of it okay, so I think what they're asking, is how can the end users, actually, be a participant. In this process, just as opposed to I was. Dead that's easy for me to answer because for, example in, our demo days we get a lot of end, users, that come and actually see the technologies, and actions that that's, why it's called the demo day is because you can actually come in touch, the technology, see, how it works ask a lot of questions from. The person that actually developed, it so we're. Very much. Trying. To appeal to the people who are out there in the field using. These technologies or interested, in the technologies, in. Terms of the licensing. Then we work with usually, a different part of the organizations, but it's very important, that you have that buy-in from. The actual user or the actual analyst so, let's. Say an. End-user comes to one of your demo days and, you showcase, this, technology, that does this. They. Then, could validate, whether or not that technology would be useful to them or if they would need a modification. That, is that what these demo days were before absolutely.
The Demo days is the kind, of starting point you're a longer, conversation so if there's interest if it looks, like it's gonna meet, their needs then the next step is usually to try to talk, about a pilot and. What, we help, do with the pilot is it's an opportunity for that end user to work hand in hand with, the, person who developed the technology now, that's very important, and something that doesn't exist elsewhere usually. Somebody's. Interested in the technology they have to license, it and kind, of that's, it right there on their own trying to make it work right oh that. Doesn't work which, is why we really, support, these pilots, and that, gives that end-user an opportunity, to for a short period of time three, months maybe six months depending on the technology, to, try it out in their environment, have, that, developer. As a UV source to ask questions, if there's, some something. That's unique about the use case or something that's unique about the requirements. Then, we can have that discussions, about making the modification. For them as well cool, great, thank you and so. How. Does how. Does your program handle, Moore's, law, regarding. Technology technological. Advancements, that government entities tend. To be slower in adopting technology, than the private sector and can, you explain what Moore's law is, don't. So. I'm not sure what he means but Moore's law and in. This context, but in terms of the I'd see, what he's getting that he. Or she is getting that in terms of the adoption. Problem. So. Government. Agencies, are, slower. To. Procure. Technologies. Normally. Than industry, that's something that we have seen as well one, of the way that we mitigate, that is by working with industry, as well as government so since we're trying to commercialize these technologies. It, doesn't, necessarily get in the way of our process, too much what. We try to do is that for every technology, we actually. Try. To pursue, a, government. End user as well as a private-sector, end user and the reason, we do that it's, not just so that it, makes the probability. Of success, bigger. But. It also because, while, government, is slower they, also, have usually, some very unique. Requirements. And use cases where they want to use these technologies so if we're able to work with them it generally ends up making the technology that, much stronger I, think. Also. Just, the concept, of the fact that let's. Say you have a data analytics, technology, that you've created and if that becomes part, of a commercial, product, the. Government's not necessarily looking to buy that data analytics, technology itself, but they may be looking to buy a product and now it has this new feature in it so I guess the government still benefits in the long run absolutely everything, that we do did the government will benefit, in the long run but what we're saying is, instead, of trying to transition.
Government, Technologies. Back to government, which is a process, that is very difficult, for some of the reasons, the. Audience mentioned, let's. Try. To commercialize, the technology so. They can benefit, as many people as possible and, a lot of cases those, technologies, will end up being procured by the government, but it's a lot easier for the government to procure something that's already on the shelf and try, to tinker, with the technology, that's in a lab and without. The support and the services, that they need that makes most sense. So. You. Know this is not something that normally. Government. Folks, get. Involved with you. Have a doctorate. In engineering, so. Again, this whole commercialization. Process is. A whole different realm. So. One, of the questions that came in here is what are some new and different things that you've learned about commercialization, as you've, implemented this program, yeah. That's a interesting. Question so I've, actually been in. Commercialization. Pretty, much my entire career, so I, soon. After I got my PhD ended, up going to the dark side of business, and, my. Interest, has always been creating, value, out of technology, so not technology for. Its own sake but. Helping. It use, it either to grow a company or start a company, so. TTP was just a natural fit for me, what's, what. I've learned is, how different things seem, on this, side so I've been, on the commercial side where. You. Know trying to help organizations, license. Technologies, from government, and advising. Companies on, how, to make the best use of their intellectual property now. My. Role is really as a connector. Between that. Private. Sector and with. These research. Organizations. That are really government, organization. So it's, interesting because, I I see where the private sector is coming from but. I've, also had the experience of, working, for a government for an organization, so it's it's in a lot of ways I'm a translator. Sometimes. A mediator between, the, two sides and it's a lot of fun. And. We, have another, question is, a gold, road map involved. Do.
We Have any idea what a gold roadmap is or what the reference is I'm not, sure what, the. Reference to gold well whoever, submitted that question if you if you want to elaborate, on that that'd be great meanwhile. Could. You tell us how people can, engage with your program, so. The best way to engage is, take. A look at our website I think we're going to have that displayed. On the screen at some point we. Have a lot of resources, on a web page including. Information about our past transitions, and one, of the things that they should look for is the, TTP tech guide so, the tech guide has descriptions. Of, all of the technologies, that have been in the TTP program. Including. The current technologies. That are selective. And. Once they have a take, a look at that if they're interested, they. Should just shoot us an email and tell us which technology, they're interested in having more conversations about, and. Will of course get in touch another. Thing that we've already talked about is the demo days if you're able to attend a demo day you absolutely, should it's. A great way to get engaged with the program, and really see the technologies, in action. Excellent. Well we. Have. Run. Almost the gamut of time so I will say, if you have more questions please. Continue. To submit them even after this broadcast, this live broadcast is over because, we will go back and try, to answer those questions to the best of our ability and also, obviously reach, out on our faith, on our on. Our webpage and through the email address that's on your screen so. Like. To just talk, about what's next, for the program what do what do you see coming down the pike so. We have still, a couple cohorts, of technologies, that are still active so of course we'll be planning demo days and looking for opportunities to keep showcasing them, another. Really interesting thing, that's going on is because we've been so successful in transitioning, and commercializing, cybersecurity, technologies. We've. Been asked to look into expanding, into. Technical, areas, beyond cyber and trying to find technologies. That address, other. Types. Of national. Security challenges, so that's going to be very exciting, for, us to to, look into and as. We're putting, together the next cohort of technologies, that that should be a really exciting, process. That, sounds very exciting I'm looking forward to seeing. What kinds of technologies, you work on in the future right. Dr.. Carlston and thank you so much for taking the time to join us this morning, hoping. That that. We've answered everyone's, questions except, for the one question that we didn't quite understand, what hopefully they'll get back to us and explain that a little bit and then we can respond. To them and I'll remind you please do. Continue to submit your questions, we. Will get back to you and, my dancers visit, our website and. Most. Important, tune, in to our next tech, talk the, science and technology director, of the department of homeland security is doing really cool work and our, tech talks are here to try to explain those programs, thanks.
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