Jumpstart Your Mission Through an AI Data Marketplace

How Federal agencies can access partners and capabilities for greater intelligence and insights

Mark Elszy

The U.S. Federal Government is taking a page out of the private sector playbook when it comes to leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to analyze data faster and gain real-time intelligence. As we mentioned in our recent blog, “Tapping into an AI Data Marketplace and Its Government IT Ecosystem” the Federal, nondefense AI and quantum information sciences R&D investment is practically doubling between 2020 and 2021. This maps with the rise of AI in the private sector, where a recent ESG survey shows 64% of enterprises’ IT organizations are increasing their 2020 AI spending.[i]

In fact, by partnering with experts in the private sector, government IT teams can tap into AI best practices and build the digital infrastructures needed for AI-supported missions more quickly. In addition, agency IT organizations can benefit from efficiently and cost-effectively accessing critical system/storage, application, data, network, cloud, and AI capabilities.

In our recent article, “Harnessing the Rise in Collaborative AI Development,” we discuss how different organizations can collaborate on advanced problems by pulling in data from disparate sources and using a variety of technologies and tools to gain deeper data insights. Today’s government organizations are not in a position to create AI-enabled infrastructures from scratch that can duplicate the experience or expertise that data and AI ecosystem partners have taken decades to develop. In order to quickly orchestrate and operationalize the capabilities required to gain insights from the volumes of data being created around the world, both public and private organizations need to come together and collaborate within a vendor-neutral AI Data Marketplace.

AI Digital Data Marketplace Solution on Platform Equinix Help Government Agencies Manage Data

The demand for data from within and outside of government agencies is increasing exponentially. Government agencies want to use and share their data and algorithms effectively but are faced with security and data control issues.

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Why is an AI Data Marketplace needed?

Equinix created the vendor-neutral AI Data Marketplace to address the following use cases:

  1. AI is moving to the edge, where volumes of data are being created and need to be locally analyzed.
  2. AI architectures are using many disparate, external data sources worldwide that need to be direct and securely interconnected.
  3. AI architectures are leveraging public cloud innovation to gain access to scalable digital compute, storage, analytics and AI-specific capabilities that most organizations do not possess.

The Equinix AI Data Marketplace empowers agency IT leaders to design a solution that best supports their missions and desired outcomes. Most importantly, it helps them find the right partner platform and deploy it where it makes the most sense (on-premises, public cloud, private cloud, etc.).  Ultimately, the AI Data Marketplace on Platform Equinix® helps agencies efficiently and cost-effectively design a cohesive AI-driven infrastructure, orchestrate it and operationalize it so that it is tailored to each specific mission.

For example, you can leverage bare metal compute and storage from Packet at Equinix to locally and securely process data while accessing AI infrastructure services from multiple cloud platforms and SaaS partners (see diagram below).

Equinix Fabric™(formerly ECX Fabric®) enables cloud adjacency that provides proximate connectivity with local databases and allows high-speed, low-latency access to multicloud-based AI capabilities for faster data analytics and real-time insights.

Critical AI missions

According to the Summary of the 2018 Department of Defense (DOD) Artificial Intelligence Strategy, “AI is poised to transform every industry, and is expected to impact every corner of the Department, spanning operations, training, sustainment, force protection, recruiting, healthcare, and many others.”[ii]

For example, one mission in which AI is adding tremendous value to national defense and local, state and federal law enforcement, is in object identification (reading and profiling). AI-driven object identification can help soldiers and first responders identify a likely threat in situations where they do not have good visibility. In this use case, an Equinix agency customer is using computer vision to quickly recognize objects by assigning them identifiable attributes and apply that information to different applications.

And critical to managing the current COVID-19 pandemic, AI can help public health officials at the city, state, country and global level identify where and how fast it is spreading, as well as how underlying conditions and diseases are causing COVID-19-related deaths.

This massive amount of data capture, processing and analysis requires disparate compute/storage, databases, networks, security, cloud and AI technologies all coming together on a single, integrated platform that extends its capabilities out from core data centers to strategic, distributed edge locations.

In addition to critical missions, AI applications can also improve day-to-day agency operations such as:

  • Improving situational awareness and decision-making: AI applied to perception tasks, such as imagery analysis, can extract useful information from raw data and equip leaders with increased situational awareness.
  • Increasing safety of operating equipment: AI can enhance the safety of operating aircraft, ships, and vehicles in complex, rapidly changing situations by alerting operators to hidden dangers.
  • Implementing predictive maintenance and supply: AI can predict the failure of critical parts, automate diagnostics, and plan maintenance based on data and equipment condition.
  • Streamlining business processes: AI can reduce the time spent on highly manual, repetitive, and frequent tasks.

Accessing and testing AI and digital platforms before deployment

Agency IT organizations can develop everything they need by accessing various partners and capabilities in the Equinix AI Data Marketplace, from all parts of the value chain (e.g., control plane, governance, visualization, analytics, etc.) without a lot of CAPEX and with lower OPEX. It is also where agencies can test out their solutions before making an investment. Public IT organizations can also gain value private sector insights into data and AI technologies and innovate at the edge on a common platform that gives them regional, national and global reach.

To learn more, read the AI Data Marketplace at Equinix white paper.

You may also want to schedule an interactive virtual Digital Edge Strategy Briefing.


[i] Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), “ESG Key Trends Influencing How Businesses Build for the Cloud,” 2020.

[ii] Summary of the 2018 Department of Defense Artificial Intelligence Strategy, 2019.

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