As an aviation and aerospace technical expert with a record of problem-solving success, Avalex’s former Product Manager, Dan Eckiss, has recently returned to the company in the role of Director of Product Management. This Avalex leader and U.S. military veteran, whose personal passions include supporting his wife’s specialty bakery business, teaming up for adult kickball and maintaining his status as a diehard fan of the New Orleans Saints, is also exceptionally passionate about the management of Avalex’s innovative products, many of which can be found on the missions of Department of Defense customers such as the U.S. Air Force, the branch with whom Dan has served as an engineer and Combat Systems Officer. Leveraging the success Avalex has already achieved with its communications management product line, Dan is currently directing a spotlight on the unique capability of these products to deliver communications systems that serve as a bridge between the modern and legacy platform data connects, knowing that this capability can serve as a key component of a mission’s success, both now and well into the future. He recently shared his thoughts on the subject.
How do Avalex products solve cross-platform technology insertion problems?
“We build our products to use industry-standard interfaces to interconnect everything in a way that’s open. There’s a big push in the Department of Defense and in foreign militaries to avoid vendor-lock with modern platforms.In the past, that vendor-lock might have been necessary because the industry-standards didn’t yet exist for people to accomplish some of the things the military systems needed to do. Now we’re able to leverage advances in commercial aviation, the internet of things, and new high-speed data–transfer and video–transfer protocols so that not only do our products play well together, they also play well with others.
Our products embrace the open modular systems architecture that our government customers put a premium on. On top of that, we design all our software using model-based tools and more modern operating systems. That trickles down into modern processor components and hardware interfaces that support these industry-standard interconnect data-transfer protocols.”
How does Avalex stay current with emerging technological trends?
“Our experts regularly read current industry literature, attend industry conferences and maintain lines of communications with other industry leaders. They also serve on industry steering committees. For example, we have a well-established relationship with The Open Group, an organization which defines software and hardware interconnect standards for the Department of Defense. By being part of organizations such as this, we gain the insight — and jumpstart — needed to meet requirements, collaborate effectively and stay extremely competitive. By the time newly developed communications products reach the market, we’ll be ready to connect and make use of the data they deliver. Overall, so much of Avalex’s ability to stay on top of emerging technologies comes from our willingness to embrace open systems and allow data out of house. In the end, Avalex product solutions will be what the end users want because we involve them in the requirements capture process and provide frequent inspection points along the development timeline to get their feedback.”
In addition to looking ahead technologically, how does Avalex compete against much larger firms?
“For one, the government’s process of rapid acquisition, which is funding R&D through small contract vehicles that lead to bigger, follow–on contracts. With this scenario our small company can afford the risk inherent in developing something that may never be purchased in mass quantity but advances overall product line technology. These new government contracting vehicles have proven successful for us over the last few years. They have allowed us to get in at an earlier stage and have something ready to go to market whenever the government actually wants it. That’s been a shift in the way that we’ve done business recently, and it’s been very positive for us.”
What is Avalex’s product strategy for the new year?
“Keeping up the momentum. We have a lot of development already on contract and want to make sure that all integrators and other platforms are aware of the open, modular hardware and software capabilities of our communications management product line. Simultaneously we want to spread awareness of the power of our company’s collective professional expertise and we want to highlight our status as a cyber security product center of excellence, both in what our IT department does to secure our data, our facilities, our infrastructure, and in the way we design our products.”