Recently we sat down with Systems Engineer Nosika Fisher and Senior Multimedia Developer Chris Gallagher of CHA’s extremely talented Research and Disruption (R&D) team, Fog Bank, to gain a little insight into what they’re up to these days. Joining us was CHA Chief Revenue Officer Chuck Wythe, who never misses a chance to showcase the incredible minds behind CHA’s innovative technology.

We asked what things CHA brings that differentiate us from other tech companies in the marketplace. Chuck was quick to point out that CHA doesn’t have a platform; we’re a product developer. CHA doesn’t have a catalog, per se, of pre-built models. Instead, everything is customized to a client’s needs. “We provide stand-alone environments that can be ‘architected’ for a client.  Our FogLifter proprietary product is a technology stack framework that we can scale, adapt, and configure to a client’s need.”

Nosika was quick to agree. “We can set up quick R&D prototypes with it. A simpler way to think about it is that we can take data that companies have but are unable to garner meaningful information from, and we can quickly spin up a prototype without the large cost of a full-blown product. We can prove or disprove theories quickly. Our prototype will answer questions clients have to help them determine their next steps.  It takes several iterations of experimentation to configure FogLifter to work with a wide variety of different structured/unstructured data, but it is not a costly, time consuming process. Once we narrow down what the client finds valuable through the prototyping approach, then we can scale it up to whatever tools or platform they prefer to use.” That adaptability and scalability is what makes FogLifter unique and drives a lot of what R&D is doing these days.

While FogLifter has been used to help our government clients sift through and interpret various data, it also has corporate functionality. “CHA does the interpreting between companies and customer in order to help facilitate industry,” Chuck said. Although it’s an expensive process to configure FogLifter for custom use, it can give a company that competitive edge in AI applications. That’s where Nosika, Chris, and Chuck all see the industry going: toward more and more advanced use of AI technology, especially that which can be completely configured and reconfigured to meet growing and changing needs.

Chris added that he’s been spending more time recently getting into 360-degree VR training. With the advances gaming technology applications have made with products such as Microsoft’s HoloLens, the training industry is seeing a shift in how it operates. “Our military clients especially are interested in how this technology can advance their training into and beyond the 21st century.” CHA has spent a considerable amount of time over the last few years developing training technology that is currently being used in places like the Navy’s Carrier-Advanced Reconfigurable Training System (C-ARTS). Being able to bring state-of-the-art training to wherever Sailors need it, whenever Sailors need it is a game changer and one that is seeing immense success. Expect R&D to continue focusing on revolutionizing VR training that will be ready and relevant for a long time to come.

Finally, lest you think Fog Bank R&D doesn’t know how to have fun while developing new technology, Chris and Nosika shared that one of the more “fun” experiments they’re running these days involves refining their identification technology. “We’ve been working on an ID tech that will allow the military to determine different data, such as IDing tanks, weapons, etc. on the battlefield,” Chuck said. “And we’ve had some success, but we’ve recently shifted focus to identifying biological stuff.” Experiments are being run right now on how accurately our tech can distinguish between male and female deer. Yes, some of us really do get to come to work and determine how well an artificial intelligence can identify bucks and does. While it’s a bit of lighthearted fun, the result will be highly-efficient and accurate AI that will be of monumental value to our military service men and women. We think you’ll agree: it’s a motivation we can get 100% behind.