MergerMarket Interview with Sumit Sharma

On My Mind



There are some things that have been on my mind the last few days but I haven't really had an opportunity to sit down and write about them. Obviously, the disaster in New Orleans and elsewhere has been just absolutely devastating. A lot of time has been spent in front of the TV watching cable news to try and come to terms with the scope and scale of the hurricane and its aftermath. It is hard to fathom an entire city just being destroyed like that. It can be hard to concentrate when you know there's something like that going on.

But it doesn't take too long watching these news reports, hearing about the lack of coordination between agencies and the lack of information available to the emergency responders to start to think about how these problems could begin to be solved.

The costs to the country of not having mission and location information coordinated and available among teams of rescuers was and continues to be huge. FEMA/DHS is now presented with a massive public relations challenge. Their image has taken a major hit and they need to illustrate to the President and the American people that they have the capacity and the know-how to create an integrated nationwide information system to be used by teams of first responders in the event of a disaster such as Katrina.

Seems to me that there is a large market for Nomad here, along very similar lines to our efforts with General Dynamics, who are responsibile for developing the Army's secure information system infrastructure. Microvision's see-through display technology has unique advantages that are well-suited to receiving and acting on real-time information while performing mission critical tasks like operating a Stryker vehicle or piloting a helicopter on search and rescue missions.

FEMA/DHS did not have the capability to respond adequately to the epic disaster of Katrina. There will be the will on the part of the people and politicians to ensure that we have the capability to meet these kinds of challenges should anything like this ever happen again, God forbid. What we have seen is a failure of information management, in addition to failures of beaurecracy, logistics and coordination.

We need to outfit the brave men and women who are out risking their lives to save American citizens with leading edge technology to ensure that they have their capabilities augmented and their forces effectively multiplied. The same reasons why Nomad is the only head-up display in combat theater use by the Army will apply to addressing the significant needs of FEMA/DHS to provide real-time access to mission critical information without negatively affecting the user's situational awareness.

Let us leave no stone unturned in the process of continuous improvement of our disaster management capabilities. Let us immediately begin to apply the lessons learned through this national nightmare towards ensuring we have the capability to meet any challenges we may face in the future.

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