Agencies testing app marketplace

Agencies from the Defense Department and the intelligence community are testing a system designed to allow developers of innovative applications easier access to government business.

Raytheon Company’s Appsmart Marketplace adapts the freewheeling commercial marketplace for apps to the more structured government procurement system, said Larri Rosser, Appsmart chief engineer.

“For a lot of these small developers, working with government agencies is a real barrier to entry,” she said. “To both ends of the spectrum it looks pretty much like you’re working in iTunes. We handle the shell game that goes on in between.”

Intelligence officials have been looking for a way to take advantage of the growing commercial applications business without compromising security or letting costs get out of control.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Letitia Long on Oct. 9 at the GEOINT 2012 Symposium noted that officials were looking for a business model that would allow intelligence agencies to take advantage of innovative applications without excessive licensing fees. Earlier in the day, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said an applications mall that would allow agencies to set up their own app stores to approved standards is part of efforts to integrate intelligence networks.

Here’s how it works: App developers are vetted by Appsmart, which also aids them in meeting government standards. Apps which meet the standards, are free of viruses or malware and pass any other needed tests are put into the store. Raytheon collects payments from the government and pays the vendors.

“From the government’s perspective they are funding things the way they normally do, but they’re only paying when somebody decides to actually use the app,” Rosser said.

About the Author

Charles Hoskinson is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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