Looking ahead at technological innovation in the federal sphere, analysts at Deltek identified three areas prime for the most growth in 2015: sensor-based technologies, software-defined infrastructure and predictive analytics.

Agencies are already preparing for these new technologies as they increase network availability, employ cloud platforms and standardize infrastructure, analysts noted.

Download: Emerging Federal Technology Markets, 2015

"Although many of these emerging solutions are already in limited use within federal agencies, the potential for broader implementation is high," Deltek said on release of the report Friday. "The complexity of mission goals requires more robust solutions to collect, use and share larger volumes of data, more robust infrastructure to transport data and better tools to analyze data."

Companies following these trends can expect to see solicitations as early as this year.

"GSA is getting ahead of the game by incorporating sensor technologies, SDI, predictive analytics and machine learning in upcoming contracts such as Alliant 2 and those related to GSA's Network Services 2020 strategy," said John Slye, a Deltek research analyst. "If agencies can develop the budgetary and programmatic strategies to incorporate these technologies in the future, there will be contracts in place to give contractors access to those opportunities."

From Deltek:

Sensor-based IT

Digitalization and the proliferation of sensor technologies have created a world where the virtual and physical are converging to produce new functional models. The Internet-of-Things (IoT), Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) are all flavors of sensor technologies that enable communication between embedded sensor devices or between those devices and the physical environment. The IoT expands on M2M with IP-based technology that integrates machine and sensor data across the enterprise for decision-making. This network of interconnected people, products and processing presents almost limitless data sources that can be leveraged to support mission objectives, from intelligence and national security to weather monitoring. Early adopters include the Navy, Air Force and the General Services Administration.

Software-defined infrastructure

Software-defined Infrastructure (SDI) consists of computing, transport and storage technologies that are coordinated and controlled via software. This approach enables the rapid and automated dedication of IT with no human intervention. Most agencies have SDI on their radar, given that their cloud computing investments lay the groundwork for future SDI implementation. With SDI, agencies could reduce their hardware costs, reduce operating costs, improve network speed and enhance security.

Predictive analytics and machine learning

Predictive analytics and machine learning will be driven by agencies' needs for deeper data analysis to improve strategic and operational decision-making. As part of the federal government's increasing interest in big data solutions, predictive analytics software allows agencies to extract data from numerous data sets to determine patterns and/or predict potential outcomes. Machine learning takes this a step further and not only automates the creation of predictive analytical models, but also leverages algorithms that allow machine-based systems to "learn" or improve upon their response capabilities without human intervention.

Aaron Boyd is an awarding-winning journalist currently serving as editor of Federal Times — a Washington, D.C. institution covering federal workforce and contracting for more than 50 years — and Fifth Domain — a news and information hub focused on cybersecurity and cyberwar from a civilian, military and international perspective.

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