News: Information Technology Expo showcases latest gear, gadgets
Story by Sgt. Micah VanDyke
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Information technology has evolved at what seems like supersonic speeds, thus creating the need for a hands-on approach to marketing and the latest and possibly greatest products on the market. The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association is well aware of this, and with help from the Federal Business Council, sponsors an Information and Technology Expo annually at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
The Information and Technology Expo, June 14, showcased the most current technology and gadgets so service members and Department of Defense civilians could stay up-to-date with and potentially obtain the most current trends in information technology. The expo allows companies to demonstrate some of their products and gives service members the chance to get up close and personal with the vendors.
“It gives us the opportunity to get some face time with some of the information technology guys, plus some of the decision makers,” said Mark Mankin, the federal sales manager at Varonis, which is a software company based out of New York, N.Y. “It gives us a chance to demonstrate the technology to determine some of the key areas and key requirements for them.”
Mankin said the expo gives these companies a tremendous opportunity to showcase their products to the members of the military.
Service members took full advantage of the expo by interacting with the vendors and trying out the products firsthand.
“I believe a lot of the products can be used by soldiers, expos like this will not only connect future commanders, but connect soldiers with what we can look forward to in the future of the Army,” said Spc. Valejo L. Johnson, a communications specialist assigned to the 2nd Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. “I saw the newest operating TACLANES [Tactical Local Area Network Encryption] and cooling systems that we can use to keep our internet servers from overheating downrange.”
A DoD civilian had his own reasons for attending the expo.
“They can be very helpful, it’s a good opportunity to see stuff you might be missing out on and there’s a lot of different companies here; a good mix,” said Richard Garrison, an airfield operations information manager, at McChord field, JBLM. “It’s a good way to meet the companies and see the products in person, since you may not know what to look for on their websites.”
Representatives from the Federal Business Council put forth a lot of effort into the event and understand how vital it is for service members to interact with companies from information technology industry.
“The main point of the expo is to assist the military; things change every couple months,” said Dennis O’Neil, a representative that organized the expo who works for the FBC. “There’s always something new coming out, so any time you get face time with people and talk about the equipment; it really does make a difference.”
O’Neil also mentioned how the expo makes it more personable and that’s the best way to demonstrate a new product.
Some vendors offer demo units to be tested by the service members to see if the technology works for their military specialties, added O’Neil.
“Technical folks are more hands-on, they want to use something, see it, hold it in their hands and see what the technology really can do,” O’Neil explained.
Trena Payton, the president of ABN Technologies in Lacey, Wash., assisted in the organization and planning of the technology expo.
“The expo is growing and if it helps us service the warfighters that are out there, who are focused on their jobs, then that’s a win-win for everybody,” said Payton.