Data Science to Stop Terrorist Counterfeiters

The U.S. Government has awarded Sphere of Influence, Inc. a contract to develop new technology that helps the U.S. Government understand more about terrorist networks that create forged identity documents.

Sphere of Influence, Inc., a McLean, Virginia based developer of advanced data analytics technologies, announced it has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to build a data science platform that enables the U.S. Government to understand more about terrorist networks and forged identity documents they produce. The contract has an estimated value of $700k for one year. Under the terms of the contract, Sphere of Influence, Inc., will deliver technologies that apply advanced data science, computer vision, and machine learning algorithms.

With this contract the US Government will not only learn more about the networks that create counterfeit identity documents, but also how they use them.

About Sphere of Influence, Inc.

Sphere of Influence, Inc. provides technologies for advanced data analytics and interactive digital solutions. The company was formed in 2000 and is headquartered in McLean, VA.

View live release here.

Analytics Studio – Sphere of Influence – on Periscope and Meerkat

Graduate from Zombie to Master

Don’t be like your friends who will leave college to become zombies. A zombie can wake up in the morning, drive to the office, go to work, drive home, watch TV, sleep, and repeat without a single truly conscious moment.

Don’t graduate to that ‘life’, which is comfortably painless, but totally unrewarding. College graduation should be about liberation, not about joining the Walking Dead. Contribute something extraordinary to the world by doing things your peers won’t be able to imitate. A career isn’t about your commute, your job, your boss, or your position. A career is defined by that one thing you do that nobody else can.

Join us on Periscope and Meerkat Friday, September 18th at 12:30pm EST.
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We’ll talk about what YOU CAN DO to make yourself a ranked master, no matter who you are. Don’t graduate and become another zeroed-out zombie that mindlessly wanders between work and home. Neural and cognitive plasticity offers a liberating alternative, and it’s something you can control.

Tweet questions to @Sphere_oi LIVE during the broadcast.


Sphere of Influence specializes in data analytics, machine learning, software engineering, and digital product development. Our studios are deeply technical, we are fast moving, we value honest nice people, and we have actual passion.

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Sphere of Influence and Personam Offer Advanced Insider-Threat Technology to CTTSO

Sphere of Influence, Inc. has partnered with Personam, Inc. to offer their behavioral profiling platform to the US Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO). The technology actively monitors computer networks for insider threats and compromised accounts and is able to provide instantaneous actionable intelligence on active threats within an organization’s security perimeter, before threats manifest into breaches. The technology is 100% passive, neither interfering with operations nor accessing sensitive data. Based on advanced real-time computational analysis of digital behaviors, it detects active and persistent threats without generating what the industry calls ‘excessive false positives’.

Developed in a joint partnership, Personam, Inc. has already introduced several of its detectors to commercial organizations, protecting them from fraud, theft, vandalism, and compromised user accounts. The CTTSO recently selected the partnership’s offering into a group of semi-finalists that will be further evaluated for suitability.

Personam CEO, Chris Kauffman, said, “It takes one week for our platform to learn the behaviors of an organization well enough to identify threats. Threatening behavior has been discovered in 100% of our commercial clients thus far, all of whom have been running conventional detection solutions for years. Given the ubiquitous nature of the insider threat, which mostly goes undetected, I’m extremely excited to see the Federal Government showing serious interest in this technology”.

The team’s technology is completely self-learning. The platform teaches itself to discern between potential threats and normal behavior. Sphere of Influence Managing Partner, Thad Scheer, said “there’s no rule book for what constitutes an insider threat or what to look for, every situation is different. What’s unique about our platform is that it teaches itself to find threats, making it nearly impossible to subvert, even if you know it’s there”.

Sphere of Influence, Inc. is a Virginia-based software developer that specializes in advanced data analytics and big data. The Analytics Studios at Sphere of Influence are the largest on the East Coast and provide solutions for Automotive, Agriculture, Consumer Products, Defense, and Intelligence.

Personam, Inc. is a new cyber-security company that focuses exclusively on detecting insider threats and compromised user accounts. The company’s patented technology generates automated threat intelligence by monitoring live networks 24×7 with behavioral profiling.

Read more here.

Anyone can add features – but that doesn’t make it good

Are you adding, adding, adding to your products and calling it innovation? Do you have any process for considering the wholeness and strong-center of a product as a way of filtering the features that go into it? 

Anyone can add features – but that doesn’t make it good

How does YOUR organization make its products or systems better?  Do you improve products by removing features or adding them?  If you are like most software organizations then you improve things by adding features.  You listen to customers and when they tell you they want something, you add it. You listen to the marketing department and when they tell you they want something, you add it.  You listen to your tech staff and when they have something new, you torture them with a long approval process…and then you add it.

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When was the last time you took features out of a product?  When was the last time you said “NO” to a customer request?  How much more cumbersome is your process for removing a feature than your process for adding features? Do you even have a process for removing features? Do you have the guts to say no?

It’s easy to add features to products, so easy that anyone can do it; making feature richness itself a commodity.  People mistakenly believe features differentiate, and maybe 20 years ago they did. But today everyone has tons of features, there’s almost no differentiation through feature richness.  Adding features is easy and it doesn’t require any skill or design discipline, just a monotonous devotion to adding.  Innovation of this type is a cousin to “additive design”.  A lot of people don’t realize that additive design is a hallmark trait of Agile Software Development.  The resulting products arise from a discombobulated array of features selected solely on their individual “priority” to stakeholders, often without any regard whatsoever to the interactions or the wholeness of the product. Agile and other additive philosophies ignore that people have a tendency to want “more” even when it’s not necessarily good for them. Deference is given to short-term impulses versus long-term interests. “More is safety”, says John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Quoting this article:

“When a consumer is making purchasing choices, the product with more features may seem appealing–but that appeal doesn’t necessarily endure after the purchase has been made. At the point of desire you want more, but at the point of daily use, you want less.

So what happens when that feature-laden product is brought home? Too often, people have no idea what to do with it. A recent study found that half the gadgets returned are actually in good working order, but customers can’t figure out how to operate them. The study found that on average, Americans are willing to spend about twenty minutes trying to figure out how to work a new toy, at which point they tend to give up and bring it back to the store. The cost of returned products in the United States is $100 billion a year.”

Good Design has concrete value in the marketplace. Not only in consumer items that need to differentiate themselves to get sold and stay sold; but also for line-of-business mission applications. When a product or software application is well Designed – it works better, lasts longer, and is used more effectively toward the intended and unintended benefits.