HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The Lantern: The Hanscom Collaboration and Innovation Center hosted an industry demo day event here on October 12 for Hanscom staff and innovation ecosystem partners.
The Light the Lantern demo day, held in the Lantern’s tactical shelter area, showcased 11 technology vendors focused on the themes of Virtual and Augmented Reality, Zero Trust and Hybrid Edge Computing.
“This event is really about connection,” said Lt. Col. Bai Lan Zhu, executive director of Lantern. “Today we bring together mission owners and solution providers, and I hope you all come together and spark new partnerships to address our country’s most pressing security challenges.”
Joe Bradley, a member of Lantern’s board of directors and director of the Cyber Resiliency Office for Weapons Systems and Engineering and Technical Management at Hanscom, said demotage helps acquisition professionals better understand their connection to the warfighter.
“As the Director of Engineering, I see events like this as a way for my engineers to stay current, keep their skills up to date, understand what’s going on and what the art of the possible is,” he said .
Steve Wert, Lantern Board Member and Program Executive Officer for Digital, emphasized the need for Hanscom executive staff to connect with partners from the innovation ecosystem who can help them meet the Secretary of the Air Force’s operational needs.
“Our partnerships with the defense industry to provide combat capabilities have never been more important,” he said. “Ideally, today we will form new partnerships with some of you and move forward as an Air Force.”
Lantern program manager Eric Brimhall said the response to the vendor call for this event has been “greater than we had hoped” and the Lantern now has a strong list of candidates to choose from for their next Light the Lantern event , which is planned for May 2023.
“In the future, we will offer our education partners and local incubators greater opportunities for participation to provide a cleaner path for small businesses to work with the government,” he said.
Lantern officials said the Hanscom innovation team has been “key” in shaping the event’s technology focus and in selecting vendors from the more than 80 company presentations the innovation team has received over the past year.
“The vendors were selected based on compelling technology, interactive demonstration and stakeholder criteria,” said Christopher Carrero, Lantern’s technical director. “Special thanks to CROWS’ Joe Wotton, PEO Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Innovation Technical Director Matt Reyburn, and Lantern Cybersecurity Subject Matter Expert Venkatesan Perumal for their contributions.”
Deborah Fullford, vice president of sales and business development at MAK Technologies, said attending the demo day and meeting with Hanscom employees was a great business opportunity and gave her company direct access to end users.
“Being able to have a warfighter look at our system, which is a training system, and have them evaluate it is just so informative,” she said.
Mass Virtual officials said military members are always amazed by the technology their company offers, and events like Light the Lantern help them raise awareness and make valuable connections.
“This program [we demoed today] will join the Cloud One Air Force service,” said Jaime Santiago, Executive Regional Director for Mass Virtual. “Cloud One’s program manager is here [at Hanscom]so we met and he tested a headset that will be great for future meetings he will have at the Air Education and Training Command which oversees our contract.”
Zhu said she hopes this event will raise the Hanscom community’s awareness of the lantern not only as a facility for experimentation, but also as a place for collaboration and innovation.
“We received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the event and how it fostered the valuable exchange of ideas and information necessary to forge new partnerships and strengthen existing ones,” she said.
Vendors interested in engaging with the team and being considered for future events are encouraged to visit the Hanscom Innovation Team website and submit an intake form for evaluation by technology experts and program office staff.
To learn more about Lantern and partnership opportunities, contact Brimhall at [email protected]