Published in: Capital Business, Washington Post By Steven Overly: February 2, 2014
The millions of viewers who tuned into Sunday night’s Super Bowl only had one of two teams to care about: the Denver Broncos or Seattle Seahawks. Haystax Technology had more than 40.
The McLean-based firm powers the security software that connected each of the federal, state and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies charged with keeping the annual sporting event and its spectators safe.
That’s no small undertaking when this year’s Super Bowl and more than 200 related events spanned police jurisdictions in two states, several counties and multiple cities, not to mention required the attention of Homeland Security, the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, among other agencies.
“They basically come together and they have to make it work,” said Anthony Beverina, president of Haystax’s public safety and commercial business.
Haystax fashions its offerings as the technology that makes coming together possible. The company’s software pulls in reams of data about potential threats or suspicious activity from surveillance cameras, social media, news outlets, police reports, officers on the ground and other information sources. It then uses a series of algorithms to parse data to identify the most credible threats that event organizers and security officials need to address. The analysis is then presented on a dashboard at command headquarters and accessible from mobile devices.
“That’s really a big part of what we’re doing. [We] take that huge mass of information, de-tangle it and make sense of it, and get it to the right people,” Chief Technology Officer Bryan Ware said. “What you need when you bring all those experts to the table is the kind of system that can help you manage that information flow. That’s where software is supposed to work really well,” Ware added.
Sunday’s game in East Rutherford, N.J., marked the fifth Super Bowl where this technology will be used. (The game took place after this story went to press.) The security software has also been used at the Indianapolis 500, America’s Cup 2013 in San Francisco and the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Haystax Technology was formed in 2012 with a private equity firm, a chief executive and a mandate. Chicago-based Edgewater Funds tapped William Van Vleet III to create a data analytics company focused on public safety and national security. Van Vleet promptly acquired two Northern Virginia firms, Flexpoint Technology and Digital Sandbox, that had already established businesses providing services and software, respectively, to the sector.
“As we put those two companies together, we’ve now got strong product and services capabilities and we’re focused pretty aggressively right now on intelligence, defense and law enforcement,” Ware said. That focus has led Haystax into three lines of business: providing secure communication channels to intelligence agencies, using analytics to predict future threats, and helping states and cities plan for natural disasters and large events.