US Army awards IBM a $135 million cloud support contract
US Army awards IBM a $135 million cloud support contract

US Army awards IBM a $135 million cloud support contract

Tech giant IBM has been awarded a $135 million contract to continue providing cloud services, software development and cognitive computing to the US Army.

The US Army’s logistics section LOGSA, one of the biggest groups within the US federal government, originally signed a contract with IBM in 2012.

Under that original managed services agreement, the army only paid for the cloud services it actually consumed. As a result, the Army has been able to avoid a staggering $15 million per year in operational costs.

Due to the success of that first contact, the Army has renewed the contact over a 33-month period. As well as continuing to provide managed services, IBM will help improve the Army’s cyber security framework.

Focus on data

In another important part of the new contract, IBM will assist the Army in predicting vehicle maintenance failures from over 5 billion data points.

And it’ll also adopt the Watson IoT services and a new Watson IoT Equipment Advisor solution. The latter analyses unstructured, structured and sensor data directly from military assets.

This solution, a core part of the IBM Watson IoT for Manufacturing and Industrial Products suite, includes a system that monitors, analyses and reports on information gathered from devices and equipment and recommends maintenance procedures.

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IoT in action

Watson Explorer is a core part of the contract, too. This is a cognitive exploration and content analysis platform that tracks both structured and unstructured data.

Using the platform, the Army will benefit from enhanced insights into vehicle data and recommendations about optimal repair methods and procedures.

By combining tactical vehicle sensor and maintenance data, IBM is hoping that the Army will be able to better understand the health of its vehicles and can take proactive repair measures.

IBM recently completed proof of concept around power too, and it demonstrated the effectiveness of Watson cognitive computing for 10 per cent of the Army’s Stryker vehicle fleet.

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Big results

As an organisation, LOGSA is responsible for providing on-time integrated logistics support of worldwide Army operations, impacting every soldier, every day. So this contract is somewhat critical.

Lisa Mascolo, managing director of US public service at IBM, said: “LOGSA and the Army can now take advantage of the technological innovation that cloud offers so that the Army can continue to reap cost savings, further streamline its operations and deliver services to its clients.

“We’re pleased to continue our work with the Army to demonstrate the viability of cloud for mission applications and the promised benefits of efficiency and taxpayer savings.”

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Important partnership

LOGSA Commander Colonel John D Kuenzli added: “Over the past four and a half years, LOGSA has benefitted from the business and technical advantages of the cloud.

“Now, we’re moving beyond infrastructure as-a-service and embracing both platform and software as-a service, adopting commercial cloud capabilities to further enhance Army readiness.”

“When Gen. Perna took command of the Army Materiel Command, he said we cannot conduct tomorrow’s operations using yesterday’s processes and procedures.

He added: “He has since emphasized understanding the leading indicators to readiness, and getting in front of the Army’s logistics challenges. The services we have received from IBM and the potential of IBM Watson IoT truly enable LOGSA to deliver cutting-edge business intelligence.”