Original Business Insider Article:
Tech companies are increasingly bullish on building a “smart wall,” which would incorporate new technologies to beef up security on the southern border.
Many firms see a potential windfall with both Democrats and Republicans floating the idea of tech improvements as an alternative to President Trump‘s call for a steel barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Democrats have said they would back as much as $5.7 billion for a smart wall. Trump himself discussed the idea when announcing the deal to end the recent government shutdown.
“The walls we are building are not medieval walls. They are smart walls designed to meet the needs of frontline border agents,” the president said last Friday. Trump’s critics, though, noted he had first dismissed the idea when it was proposed by Democrats.
The tech and defense industries have long pushed for technology to be a centerpiece of efforts to secure the border. Now they see new momentum for the idea as a bicameral, bipartisan group of lawmakers seek to hash out a border deal to avoid a second shutdown.
“We cannot focus on archaic solutions in order to address this very modern problem,” Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), one of the conferees, said during the group’s first meeting on Wednesday. “Technology works for securing the border.”
Some of the technologies floated include drones to surveil areas border agents cannot easily see, biometrics to check people entering the U.S. with their IDs, and sensors that detect people moving across the border.
The encouraging atmosphere has companies looking to highlight technologies that could be deployed.
Elbit Systems of America, a U.S.-based subsidiary of top Israeli defense company Elbit Systems, told The Hill it “stands ready” to expand its work at the border. Elbit has worked with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to build “integrated fixed towers” equipped with radars and cameras, along approximately 200 miles of the border in Arizona, and says it is prepared to deploy that equipment in other border states, including Texas and California.
“We’re standing by with the ability to deploy more for border patrol to support their mission, pending the outcomes of some of the discussions that are happening right now by the lawmakers and others,” Gordon Kesting, Elbit Systems of America’s vice president, told The Hill. “We think we’re in a good position to leverage the good work that’s been done to date and do things quickly in response to what might be a sense of urgency around more border security.”
Alex Philp, the founder and chief technology officer of Montana-based company Adelos, Inc., told The Hill his company hopes to inform supportive lawmakers about its product: a fiber optic cable that could alert agents to movements along the border.
Philp told The Hill that Adelos, which is competing for a contract with CBP, has been in communication with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who sits on the border talks committee.
Philp called the company’s home state senator “a big supporter of what we’ve been doing.”
Executives who spoke to The Hill had high hopes for the talks.
Philp said he believes the panel’s lawmakers are finally “energizing smart alternatives to physical barriers.”
Despite the new momentum there are potential roadblocks ahead. Republicans and Democrats are still divided on the need for including new physical barriers on the border, a key demand of Trump.
Adelos, Inc. (Polson, MT) was awarded a grant from the Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation. Adelos was teamed with Israeli company 4Cast Systems (Petach Tikva, Israel). The two companies will develop technology to help detect and prevent pipeline disasters.
The announcement was made last month (December) in Tel Aviv, Israel, by the Board of Directors for BIRD. The Board approved $7.3 Million dollars to go to eight teams, consisting of U.S. and Israeli companies and organizations.
The BIRD Foundation promotes collaborations between U.S. and Israeli companies in various technological fields for the purpose of joint product development. In addition to providing conditional grants of up to $1 million for approved projects, the Foundation assists by working with companies to identify potential strategic partners and facilitate introductions.
Below are the eight teams that were awards grants
- 4Cast Systems (Petach Tikva, Israel) and Adelos Inc. ( Polson, MT) will develop an Upstream – Advanced Pipeline Disaster Prevention System.
CompediaSoftware & Hardware Development Ltd. ( Ramat Gan, Israel) and Samaritan ‘ s Purse ( Boone, NC) will develop VolunteerVR – Virtual Reality Skills and Empowerment Tools for Disaster Relief Volunteers.
- HackerU Ltd. ( Ramat Gan, Israel) and JustCode
I nc. (NY, NY) will develop Cyber Security and Coding Assessment Platform for Measuring and Enhancing Cyber Readiness and Tech Talent Competency.
- Juganu ( Rosh Ha’ayin, Israel) and Just Greens LLC ( Newark, NJ) will develop a Tunable White Spectrum SMART
LED BasedFixture for Automated Horticulture Processes.
- Leviticus-Cardio Ltd. (Petach Tikva, Israel) and Jarvik Heart Inc. (NY, NY) will develop the Wireless Jarvik 2000® LVAD.
- Mitos Medical Ltd (Netanya, Israel) and FiberTech Medical Inc. ( Baltimore, Maryland) will design and manufacture a Surround Vision Scope.
- MS Tech Ltd. (Herzliya Pituach, Israel) and Tekwave Solutions Inc. ( Alpharetta, GA) will develop a Rapid Field Analysis of Chlorates, Perchlorates, Fentanyl and Synthetic Opioids using HF-QCM Nanotechnology Detection Sensors.
- Somatix Technologies Ltd. (Ra’anana, Israel) and Catholic Senior Housing and Health Care Services, Inc. ( Bethlehem, PA) will develop a Digital Health System, SafeBeing – ‘Aging in Place’ Lifestyle with Exceptional Peace of Mind.
For more information, see BIRD Press Release
by Maritsa Georgiou
MISSOULA, Mont. —
The president predicts failure, the house speaker digs her heels in, and we’re 15 days away from another government shutdown over a border wall.
But what if a bipartisan compromise could be found in western Montana? That’s what we found out during our time in Washington, D.C., going Beyond the Podium.
The battle rages on in the fight for border security, but there’s technology 2,200 miles away from our nation’s capital that could be the linchpin in border security negotiations.
“If you went up to our Polson site where we have, frankly, millions invested, you would see an incredible capability that puts us in a class of maybe three companies in the world,” said Adelos, Inc. founder Alex Philp.
Adelos came up with a system that uses lasers and fiber-optic cables the size of a strand of hair to detect even the smallest vibrations in the earth’s surface. It can pick up a whisper.
“It’s so sensitive, we have heard roots in the ground move from wind blowing,” Philp said.
The system scans 12,000 times per second and can work directly with technology like drones. It can detect movement up to almost 1,000 feet away on the surface, nearly 5 miles above the ground and also through water.
For border patrol agents, it removes the element of surprise, which is something Philp has talked to them about numerous times at both the northern and southern borders.
“We’re beyond debating if there’s a need,” Philp said. “Now the question is the right technology at the right price in the right way that reduces risk and provides them something they currently don’t have.”
If you break down the cost compared to $5.7 billion, “We could cover the southern border all the way across and all the way back for less than half,” Philp said.
It’s estimated a physical wall would cost around $25 million per mile. Philp says his technology can be installed for $1 million per mile and probably even less. The government started considering his product 11 years ago.
“We want smart borders. The American public gravitates toward this immediately based on readership. It’s common (sense),” Philp said. “But they don’t understand there’s these massive bureaucratic barriers to implementation.”
That could change quickly. Right now, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is trying to reach a deal or risk facing another shutdown in almost two weeks. On that panel sits Sen. Jon Tester. We asked him directly if he thinks Philp’s technology could hold a bipartisan solution to this ongoing debate.
“I do, as a matter of fact,” Tester told us in an exclusive interview. “I will tell you that I’ve known about the technology that Alex has worked on for 10 years or longer. And we ought to look to those technologies, because as the threat changes — and it will over time — we need to make sure we can change those technologies to defeat those threats.”
Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte are also interested in Philp’s technology but say there also needs to be a physical barrier to go along with it.
“Border patrol agents also told me they need a wall,” Gianforte said on the floor of the House this week. “They know walls work.”
Whether you agree doesn’t really matter, because Phosonic can work on its own and complement other security measures simultaneously.
“I believe we are one part of an overall solution,” Philp said.
S&K Technologies bought Adelos, Inc. in 2009.
“We’re the only U.S. company — in this case we’re Native American owned — that has a solution to the problem. We’re competing internationally,” Philp told NBC Montana.
And it’s not just border security.
“It doesn’t have to be just defense, and it doesn’t have to be just homeland,” Philp said. “We could be using it to monitor our water infrastructure. We could be using it to measure traffic on the streets. It can actually be the future for how we protect pipelines. I see a huge market for literally wiring the cities of the future.”
For now, it’s back to that fight in Washington. The committee has two weeks to get something through Congress and signed by the president. Philp is passionate about his company’s technology and hopes the bipartisan committee and the president will consider this cyber wall — if not on its own, in addition to a physical one.
As you can imagine, Philp is watching what’s happening in Washington very closely. If Phosonic gets the green light, it could mean up to 60 jobs in western Montana alone and a big boost for our technological reputation.
WASHINGTON DC – December 6, 2018 – The Fiber Optic Sensing Association (FOSA) today recognized Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) with FOSA’s Champion of Innovation Award for 2018. The selection, based on the extraordinary leadership demonstrated by Tester in the 115th Congress to make U.S. security programs more effective through advanced technology, was made at FOSA’s annual conference in Washington, DC.
As the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee, Senator Tester has encouraged the federal government to adopt the use of advanced technology, like fiber optic sensing, to solve border security and other security challenges. He has used his leadership role to provide funding to government agencies focused on solving issues of critical national security.
“Senator Tester is tireless in his work to provide the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security with innovative solutions to meet their mission’s needs,” said Scott Colton, CEO of Adelos, Inc., a member of FOSA. “He understands inherently the value of advanced technology, as those agencies work to ensure the safety and security of the United States.”
“Sen. Tester’s recognition of the value of advanced technologies like fiber optic sensing is a real benefit to the nation,” said Mark Uncapher, FOSA Director. “He has worked non-stop to ensure that our national and homeland security efforts are as effective as they can be.”
“I’m honored to receive the FOSA Champion of Innovation Award,” said Sen. Jon Tester. “Advanced technology like fiber optic sensors represent the type of cutting-edge measures that will help us solve some of our toughest security challenges. Fiber optics and other innovative solutions like it will help keep our borders safe and ensure our nation’s homeland security efforts are effective.”
THE FIBER OPTIC SENSING ASSOCIATION (FOSA)
FOSA is a non-profit organization created in Washington DC in 2017 with the mission of educating industry, government and the public on the benefits of fiber optic sensing. Through webinars, videos, white papers, public presentations, and public policy advocacy, the organization provides information on the use of fiber optic sensing to secure critical facilities, enhance public safety and protect the environment.
FOSA Members include Adelos Inc., AFL, AP Sensing, Asymmetric Technologies, Corning, Ditch Witch, Dura-Line, Emerson Electric, Fotech Solutions, Frauscher Sensor Technology USA, Hifi Engineering, Network Integrity Systems, NKT Photonics, OFS, Omnisens, OptaSense, OZ Optics, Prysmian Group, and Smartpipe Technologies®. For further information, please visit the FOSA website.
Click the photo above to view KECI Video.
(by Maritsa Georgiou: from NBC MT – KECI TV)
The debate over building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border rages on. But one Montana company is working to land a government contract to build a different type of security measure on the border.
“We need to know where the people are crossing and who they are so we can take action,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirestjen Nielsen told reporters Thursday.
Though the southern border is more than 1,300 miles away from Montana, one local company wants in on the action.
“I track it every single hour of every single day,” Adelos, Inc. founder Dr. Alex Philp told us about the battle over border security.
Philp first saw a trend toward sensor technology while doing research for NASA at the University of Montana. He founded Adelos, Inc. in 2006 after the U.S. Navy contacted him to help implement state-of-the-art fiber technology. It turned into a sophisticated system that uses lasers and fiber-optic cables the size of a strand of hair. They can detect even the smallest vibrations in the earth’s surface. That means it can detect vehicles, footsteps, low-flying aircraft and more. This type of linear ground detection system is now being considered for border security, and Adelos wants to win the bid.
“It would mean job growth, it would mean hiring UM and MSU grads,” Philp said. “We have the ideal workforce for what we’re going to be facing and what we’re going to be scaling. We want a chance to allow our system to compete, go in, show what we can do on the southern border, bring value to the U.S. taxpayer and ultimately deliver value to our investors and those who believed in us all along.”
S&K Technologies bought Philp’s company in 2009, allowing his work to continue. That’s work he started long before Donald Trump announced his bid for president.
“It just so happens with the intensity and policy decisions of this current administration that there’s a ton of money and a lot of opportunity,” Philp said. “We’ve been at this a long time. It’s a classic story of small business fighting the battle, a technically very rigorous company working very hard. The investment from S&K Technologies kept us going and allowed us to stay in the game.”
The fiber-optics system scans 12,000 times per second and can talk to other machines like drones to identify movement. That means if there are footsteps somewhere, it can send a drone or use a government camera to go to a specific location for images. It can detect location down to a meter.
Right now the company has a government contract with the U.S. Air Force.
“When most people think of advanced technology and advanced sensor systems that are world class, they’re not necessarily thinking Montana, although that’s changing,” Philp said.
Philp knows he faces competition from some companies in England, Israel and possibly China.
“We are one of the few U.S.-based and, in this case, Native American-owned companies in this fight,” he said. “We believe we’re the only Native American company. It doesn’t get any more American than that.”
No matter where you stand on the border security issue, Philp says this kind of sensor technology is the future for multiple kinds of security. If they get the contract it will mean many more jobs for Montanans and other Americans. If they get the bid they’re hoping work will start by fall.
Polson, MT – Adelos, Inc. and the U.S. Navy entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to develop new capabilities related to Phosonic™ 3.0+ fiber optic sensor system for border and perimeter security applications. The CRADA represents specific collaborative areas of research between the U.S. Navy and Adelos and extends a long-term, valuable relationship between the research partners. These areas involve advanced materials design, acoustic signal processing applications, target classification algorithms, and other areas of interest to the U.S. Government.
“This Cooperative Research and Development Agreement builds on the decade-long partnership between Adelos and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport,” said Scott Colton, CEO of Adelos, Inc. “The agreement will help us achieve a significantly enhanced solution for our customers and provides a substantial benefit to the Navy.”
About Adelos Inc.
Adelos, Inc. is an applied research and product development company specializing in fiber optic sensor systems for a range of advanced U.S. government and commercial applications. Founded in 2006, Adelos manufactures and sells the Phosonic digital opto-acoustic sensor system. A leader in defense and security applications, Adelos provides a variety of licensing and technical integration solutions. The U.S. Navy, Naval Undersea Warfare Center-Newport, NAVSEA has long-standing expertise and knowledge in specific techniques related to fiber optic based arrays for undersea warfare. The U.S. Navy and Adelos will collaborate to exchange information, evaluate new methods, and develop mutually beneficial capabilities.
Adelos, Inc. is part of the S&K Technologies, Inc. family of companies. S&K Technologies, Inc. was formed in 1999 with a vision to become one of the preeminent professional services firms in the country and to provide opportunity and prosperity to the people of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT). Since inception, the S&K Technologies, Inc. enterprise has grown into a family of five subsidiary companies that support federal and commercial customers around the world. As a wholly-owned corporation of the CSKT of the Flathead Nation, S&K Technologies is part of an extensive economic development plan established by tribal leadership. Like all tribal businesses, our success has a direct and meaningful impact on our shareholders—the 7,000 plus members of the Tribes.
Dr. Alex Philp
Chief Technology Officer
Photos courtesy of the U.S. Navy.
Dr. Alex Philp, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Adelos, Inc., was recently invited to speak at the biennial Montana High Tech Jobs Summit in Missoula, Montana. The event was co-hosted by Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and the Montana Chamber of Commerce Foundation. With the high-tech sector growing seven times faster than the average sector growth, the focus of the summit was on how to attract tech companies to Montana, how to remove barriers to business and job creation, and how to improve broadband access in rural Montana.
Dr. Philp participated on a panel, “The Internet of Every-Thing: How Technology and Connectivity Touches Every Part of Our Lives” during which he highlighted how fiber optic sensing capabilities are a good example of an IoT application. Adelos’ Phosonic™ 2.5+ virtual sensor array provides advanced functionality through a connected, machine-to-machine digital network. Utilizing a buried fiber optic cable system, individual virtual sensors are maintained digitally along this array and provide specific detection, classification, and localization information of interest. This information is communicated to other digital machines connected through a secure network, allowing other sensors to use the Phosonic data automatically and continuously. Other participants on Dr. Philp’s panel included representatives from Amazon, BNSF, CTIA, and onXmaps.
The event drew leaders in technology with keynote speeches from Jay Clayton, Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Brad Smith, President of Microsoft; Mignon Clyborn, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission; Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of T-Mobile; and Sanjay Poonen, Chief Operating Officer of VMware.
For more information contact the following:
Dr. Alex Philp, Chief Technology Officer
(L-R): Picture #1: Sen. Daines speaks to the summit. Picture #2: Dr. Philp on the far left.
(Bottom) Picture #3: Dr. Philp speaking on the panel.
Photos by Amber Fern Photography.
MAY 3, 2017
TESTER HIGHLIGHTS MONTANA SMALL BUSINESSES DURING DEFENSE HEARING
Senator: Montana Small Businesses are Bringing Cutting Edge Inventions to the Table
(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today highlighted Montana small businesses and their work to keep Americans safe and create high-paying jobs.
During a Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Tester emphasized to top Pentagon officials the innovative work Montana small businesses are doing to enhance all branches of the military and support members of the Armed Forces. Tester has used his seat on the Appropriations Committee to secure funding each year for Defense Department grants that Montana small businesses use to hire workers and provide critical equipment and services to the Armed Forces.
“Robust defense research funding ensures that we provide the brave men and women serving our nation with the best possible tools to accomplish their mission and to keep them safe,” Tester said.”Montana entrepreneurs and small businesses are often on the forefront of technology, and they bring fresh ideas and cutting-edge inventions to the table. I know this is true in Montana.”
Tester plans to vote for a federal budget this week that makes strong investments in defense research. Many Montana businesses will receive a portion of these funds to provide research, equipment, and services to the military.
Tester listed some of the important contributions that Montana small businesses are already making to America’s service members during the hearing. Tester specifically emphasized the work of Polson’s Adelos Inc. that develops fiber-optic sensors, Bozeman’s S2 Corporation that analyzes spectrum communication around the world, and Bozeman’s Mystery Ranch that manufactures backpacks for members of the Armed Forces. Adelos was recently awarded a Rapid Innovation Fund contract from the U.S. Air Force to provide a cost-effective solution for securing the perimeters of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launch facilities.
“Our small, innovative, Montana-based startup has developed a passive fiber optic sensing system that is capable of detecting, classifying, and localizing surface, underground, and airborne threats,” said Scott Colton, CEO of Adelos, Inc. “Sen. Tester has been a strong and consistent advocate for small businesses in Montana making it possible for companies like Adelos to provide the Department of Defense with innovative solutions that help them meet their mission needs.”
“At a time when security threats are increasing across the globe, S2 Corporation is hiring Montanans to develop dynamic technologies that detect and geolocate the radio frequency emissions for communication and radar of our adversaries, across the entire spectrum simultaneously,” said Kris Merkel, CEO of S2 Corporation in Bozeman. “Thanks to Senator Tester, we have been able to secure and extend several important competitive federal contracts that help keep this country safe and create more high-tech jobs right here in Montana.”
“As a member of the Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition, Mystery Ranch has provided America’s service members with critical equipment that is built for their specific mission,” said Dana Gleason, CEO of Mystery Ranch. “These resources are critical to Mystery Ranch and help us create more jobs right here in Bozeman. We want to thank Senator Tester for his continued support for our troops and the Montana small businesses who equip them.”
Tester has been celebrating National Small Business Week by taking actions each day to help Montana small business grow and create more jobs.
(Copied from Senator Tester’s Online Newsroom: https://www.tester.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=5240)