Center for American Progress

Allow a Wider Variety of Businesses to Join in Solving Border Security Problems
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Allow a Wider Variety of Businesses to Join in Solving Border Security Problems

Small technology firms might be examined to offer extra innovative input to larger groups such as Boeing, particularly if they are given a financial incentive.

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Small technology firms might be examined to offer extra innovative input to larger groups such as Boeing, particularly if they are given a financial incentive. “There are smaller entrepreneurial companies that probably never would have had a chance to compete [for the SBI contract] and it may be they are so small that they’re invisible to the larger contractors,” observes Jay Fraser, the president of a San Antonio security company who writes about border issues for ThreatsWatch.org.

Consider New Jersey’s Sarnoff Corp., which has been working with the Marine Corps on a system called ACT-Vision that can automatically control hundreds of video cameras to ensure uninterrupted tracking of targets. The company has not pitched its products to DHS for SBInet, but its officials said the technology would be readily adaptable to and useful for border security, and would not be prohibitively expensive.

Even ideas from larger companies that bid against Boeing might be incorporated. Senstar president Brian Rich said his firm “never developed a relationship with Boeing” during the SBInet bidding process, but that he saw room for enhancing the company’s sensor capabilities. Ericsson’s proposed SBI system, which relied on sensors and communications technology and was similar to a border network that the company built in Norway, “might have been a more interesting way of going,” Rice’s Bronk said. Of course, such companies would have to be induced to partner with a competitor to whom they had lost a contract bid, but perhaps contracts could be written to encourage their participation even if they do not win the award.

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