NMCI innovation center forming

Navy NMCI Web site

NEW ORLEANS — The Navy today announced it is forming an innovation center to assist in developing and discovering future technologies for the Navy Marine Corps Intranet environment.

The center, which will be a loose alliance of military and industry players, is designed to use the experience and intelligence of both key sectors to look to the future possibilities of NMCI.

"If we just get out of NMCI what's in the contract, I believe we've failed," said Navy Capt. Chris Christopher, NMCI staff director. "NMCI is worth every penny we've spent so far, but we have to be able to do more."

The center will consist of five parts:

* An annual industry symposium, the first of which was held here this week.

* A product evaluation center, which will test commercial applications to determine their compatibility with the NMCI environment.

* An innovation council, which will tap military and industry minds to determine how existing technology can be used in unplanned ways, and to focus on projects with a two-year time frame.

* A strategic partners forum, which will provide a way for Navy and industry to share an information technology vision over a period of three to five years and consider "over the horizon" issues.

* An NMCI user group, which will rely on the combined brain power of a group of users who can offer suggestions for improvement and communicate directly with Navy or EDS officials developing and managing the network.

"We need to get a feel for the capabilities that are just out of our reach," Christopher said.

Because the center for innovation is not a physical entity or building, Christopher said, the time frame for its inception remains elusive. The process is ongoing and the components are being formed. He said he hopes the concept will fully become a reality next year.

"As is befitting a network, the innovation center will be virtual," he said.

"Parts of it, such as this symposium, are already under way," Christopher said. "The innovation council has had two meetings and we hope to stand up the evaluation center by the end of the year. The other components — the partners forum and the user group — will come when we have more seats cut over and a better grasp of the total user community."

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