The Australian Federal Police launched a Technology Innovation Centre late last week for its Emerging Technology Team to test the latest software against its live environment.
The $80,000 facility is a small but very necessary investment to match the law enforcement service’s capabilities with rapidly evolving technologies coming to the market.
The Centre is operated and maintained by the AFP’s Emerging Technology Team, which consists of three full-time staff, reporting to the AFP’s Chief Technology Officer Scott Macleod, who in turn reports to CIO Rudi Lammers.
The Emerging Technology team is the interface between the business (The Federal Police) and the technology industry to ensure the latest and greatest enterprise technology can be adapted for law enforcement use.
This team fulfils many of the key functions of an equivelant in the corporate world, with a focus on enterprise architecture, design, development, and test and integration.
In practice, the team will identify new technologies that could be of use by law enforcement and invite industry representatives to either come in and demonstrate the solutions at the new facility in front of the AFP’s operational staff or connect in to do the same via video conferencing.
The IT infrastructure that powers the new facility was built with flexibility in mind to ensure just about any application could easily be demonstrated at low-cost.
So whilst there are dedicated physical systems in place to test solutions that demand them, the facility relies on virtualisation to demonstrate multiple solutions on just about any operating system with minimum set-up overheads.
New applications are loaded onto this ‘private cloud’ at the facility, connected to the internet via an unclassified network and protected by user authentication.
The facility was also built with enough physical capacity to plug in appliance products and other solutions that can’t be run from a virtual container.
At the front-end, solutions are demonstrated using video conferencing, allowing for the input of expertise from “tiger teams” of remote AFP and industry staff.
“The AFP Innovation Centre is one of the first of its kind in the government sector and aims to enhance innovative thinking in the field of ICT, in the process utilising and improving cutting edge design,” said AFP CIO Rudi Lammers.