TIS in the News

Austin, TX, January 26, 2012. Dr. Alex Kilpatrick, co-founder of Tactical Information Systems was interviewed recently for an article on defeating biometric face matching technology for Security News Daily, a member of the TechMediaNetwork. TechMediaNetwork is a publisher with a combined reach of 98 million unique readers monthly, plus more through syndications to major media partners.

“Over the last decade, computers have become better at seeing faces. Software can tell if a camera has a face in its frame of vision, and law enforcement has been testing facial-recognition programs that can supposedly pick out suspects in a crowd. That's prompted an arms race between the people who build facial-recognition systems — and those seeking ways to defeat them.

Facial-recognition software is becoming a bigger issue for privacy advocates as well. Surveillance cameras are already ubiquitous in the U.K., are showing up in more places in the U.S. and may increasingly be connected to facial-recognition systems.

"I went to a Kinko's a while ago," said Alex Kilpatrick, chief technology officer and co-founder of Tactical Information Systems, a company in Austin, Texas, that sells facial-recognition software to law enforcement and the military. "I saw three cameras just while I was standing in line. You see them in all kinds of places now."

Read more here.

Austin, TX, January 23, 2012. The Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), a not-for-profit part of the IC2 Institute of The University of Texas at Austin (UT), today recapped a very successful first formal year of its Landing Pad Program. The Landing Pad Program supports early stage technology companies by leveraging ATI’s network and community insight to accelerate that company’s acculturation into the Austin business ecosystem. While the program has been in place loosely in the past, in its first formal year in 2011, ATI supported 13 companies in their moves to Austin, including: Amatra, BlackLocus, Convergence Wireless, Digital Harmony Games, Drivve, DXUp Close, SceneTap, Social Muse, Tactical Information Systems and V-Chain Solutions. Additionally, serial entrepreneur Ben Dyer moved to Austin from Atlanta with TechDrawl, and he has since helped launch and relocate two new startups: NightRaft and BeHome247.

“We are so proud of the business environment that exists in Austin, all the right ingredients for success, but via a supportive, community approach. So it goes without saying, we always want to recruit companies from elsewhere to come experience what Austin is all about,” said Robert Reeves, ATI’s Director of IT and Wireless. “The Landing Pad Program formalizes a twenty plus year “welcoming” effort, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the 13 companies who became part of the Austin ecosystem in 2011.”

Read the entire article here.

Austin, TX, October 3, 2011.  Tactical Information Systems has been selected as a portfolio company for the Fall 2011 by Texas Venture Labs. Housed in the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas, Texas Venture Labs is a campus-wide initiative designed to accelerate start-ups from UT and Central Texas towards raising capital and taking their innovations to market and to create an experience that transforms UT Graduate students into future entrepreneurs and business leaders. Housed at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, Texas Venture Labs provides direct links to the entrepreneurial, business, technology and legal resources available both on the campus and in the Texas entrepreneurial eco-system. Texas Venture Labs enables students, faculty and researchers to have full access to these resources, while providing the mentoring, team-building, market and business plan validation, technology commercialization and domain knowledge needed to start and grow innovative ventures.

AUSTIN, TX, September 19, 2011. Co-founders Dr. Alex Kilpatrick and Mary Haskett will present "Cloud 101: Basics of using and controlling cloud based applications" at the Web 2.0 Expo/NY at the Sheraton NY Hotel and Towers on Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 3:15. This talk will present the basics of the Amazon cloud, Web 2.0 Expo New York 2011 concentrating on the differences between cloud-based management and conventional server management. Topics include cloud storage, cloud instances and provisioning, cloud pricing, database instances, and cloud security. Additionally, the talk will cover the unique characteristics of a cloud-based application compared to conventional applications.

Now in its fifth year, Web 2.0 Expo is for the builders of the next-generation web: designers, developers, entrepreneurs, marketers, and business strategists. We feature not only innovations and inspirations but also practical ideas that smart companies can use to succeed today. Read more about Web 2.0 Expo.

AUSTIN, TX, September 16, 2011. Tactical Information Systems co-founder, Mary Haskett, was featured recently in LiveScience.com. Launched in 2004, LiveScience is a site for highly accessible science, health and technology news for people curious about their minds, bodies and the world around them. The article, titled "From Skydiving to Biometrics: One Entrepreneur's Story" tells the story of her journey from skydiving instructor to serial entrepreneur through her participation in the NSF-funded ACTiVATE program. The full article is at: http://www.livescience.com/16099-skydiving-biometrics-entrepreneur-haskett-nsf-sl.html

Austin, TX, August 4, 2011. Tactical Information Systems (TIS), an innovator in complex and emerging biometric technologies, joins the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), a unit of the IC2 Institute of The University of Texas at Austin, in its IT focus area. Tactical Information Systems becomes part of the incubator after having won the Austin Chamber of Commerce award at IBM’s exclusive Smart Camp, which identifies early stage entrepreneurs whose business ventures align with IBM’s Smarter Planet vision. “We’re honored to join ATI, and are excited to take advantage of the wide range of resources here that will lead to our company’s growth acceleration," said Mary Haskett, co-founder and CEO of TIS. “The incubator's proven track record, capital connections, and expertise in emerging tech sectors make it a perfect launch pad for our company and the WanderID product.” TIS provides cloud-based biometric matching of fingerprints, palm prints, and iris and facial images. The company’s newest product, WanderID, uses facial recognition technology to identify individuals who cannot reliably communicate in case of emergency, such as Alzheimer’s patients and young children. WanderID will be featured at the National Down’s Syndrome Congress in San Antonio, Texas, August 5-7, 2011. “Tactical Information Systems is a proven leader in a cutting-edge field and we are thrilled at ATI to offer them our experience and resources to help grow their business,” said Robert Reeves, ATI IT Portfolio Director.

About the Austin Technology Incubator

The Austin Technology Incubator is a not-for-profit unit of the IC2 Institute of The University of Texas at Austin that harnesses business, government and academic resources to provide strategic counsel, operational guidance and infrastructure support to its member companies to help them transition from early stage ventures to successful technology businesses. Since its founding in 1989, ATI has worked with over 200 companies, helping raise close to $750 million in investor capital. For more information, visit www.ati.utexas.edu.

About Tactical Information Systems

Tactical Information Systems is an innovative leader in the development of complex, large-scale, cloud-based biometric software applications and provides secure hosting and management services for customizable biometric data system to both the private and government sectors around the world. The company is based in Austin, Texas, and its executives have a combined 20 years of experience in the commercialization of emerging technologies and profitable entrepreneurship.

AUSTIN, TX, June 6, 2011. Tactical Information Systems (TIS) was awarded a contract to provide software in support of the Afghanistan Automated Biometric Identification System (AABIS) Expansion project. The project prime is Scientific Research Corporation (SRC) and TIS is one of four companies involved in the project. The project will expand the current AABIS capacity from one million records to ten million records as well a provide enhanced functionality for the system. The AABIS program is run by the Afghan government and collects data on Afghan National Army and Police recruits. The data is cross-checked with biometric records from the Afghan National Detention Facility, Kabul Central Police Command, Counter-narcotics Police of Afghanistan and FBI prison enrollments from Kabul, Herat and Kandahar. Additional information on the program was published in Wired magazine last year and is available at: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/09/afghan-biometric-dragnet-could-snag-millions/

AUSTIN, TX, May 19, 2011. IBM SmartCamp Austin was held May 17 and 18 in partnership with the Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Austin Technology Incubator, part of University of Texas. IBM SmartCamp is part of IBM's Global Entrepreneur initiative, and was designed to mentor start-up companies with innovative technologies, and connect them to venture capitalists, academia, and other industry leaders to speed their time to market.

“The enthusiasm from our sponsors, finalists and mentors involved with this event is a great testament to the work The Austin Chamber of Commerce has put in over the years to build this vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurism. IBM has a lot to offer this startup community and SmartCamp was one of many ways we plan to continue to stay engaged here in Austin” said Dr. Jani Byrne, Director of Strategic Ventures, IBM Venture Capital Group.

The record 150 start-up applicant companies were narrowed down to five finalists that are creating new technologies in critical areas such as healthcare, energy, water management, and services that improve the lives of people throughout the world. The event included a keynote and Q&A with Startup America CEO Scott Case. Applicants received on-site mentoring and were judged by experts, while a People’s Vote allowed live stream viewers to pick their favorite startup.

Award categories included the overall winner of IBM SmartCamp Austin, the Austin Chamber of Commerce Award, the Fulbright Legal Services Award and the People’s Vote Award. In addition, the Austin Technology Incubator awarded all five finalists strategic consulting services and office space for the remainder of 2011. Judge Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet and professor of innovation at University of Texas Austin, gave all finalists a Mentorship Award of support and mentoring with him through the rest of the year. “All the finalists and applicants are winners because they are pushing forward with their visions, their passions,” Metcalf said. “They are taking the chance to take the innovation plunge to the level of action. That courage is what differentiates winners from the rest.”

2011 IBM SmartCamp Austin Winners:

  • SecureWaters was named winner of IBM SmartCamp Austin, and will attend the SmartCamp World Finals at the end of the year. SecureWaters commercializes patented technology that monitors, detects and identifies toxins in surface water. The company sells a smarter, real-time early warning electronic monitor and alarm system, the AquaSentinel, which automatically and continuously tests for toxins in source surface waters.

  • Tactical Information Systems won the Austin Chamber of Commerce Award. Tactical has developed a platform for low-cost, easy to use, biometric matching of fingerprints, palm prints, iris and face images in the cloud. Their first product, WanderID, is a service aimed at caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive disorders such as autism that leaves a person unable to reliably speak in case of an emergency.

  • Stormpulse won the Fulbright Legal Services Award of $3,500 in legal services from international law firm Fulbright & Jaworski LLP. StormPulse provides comprehensible, on-demand weather intelligence for better decision making regarding the impact of weather on personnel, assets, and supply chains for customers in industries including energy and utilities, transportation, defense, healthcare, and manufacturing.

  • Waldo Health won the online People’s Vote Award and has developed and launched a unique tablet-based patient monitoring service that delivers a smarter, more powerful solution for the growing field of home telehealth. Designed for individuals with chronic disease, Waldo is the home health companion that connects patients to clinicians.

  • SmartCamp finalist DxUpClose is developing a smarter bacterial diagnostic system that uses electronic sensors to quickly screen for a specific bacterial infection, counts bacteria and performs a rapid antimicrobial sensitivity test. The results of the screening and treatment recommendations are then sent to the healthcare worker’s smartphone within sixty minutes.

“The Chamber was honored to have Austin chosen by IBM as one of the nine global cities to host an IBM SmartCamp competition. The group of regional mentors who participated showcased some of Austin’s greatest regional entities and talent. The University of Texas at Austin, Fulbright & Jaworski and over 10 Austin Chamber member companies deserve special thanks for the awards and prizes presented to the five finalist companies. It was a great competition and, as always, we thank IBM for all they contribute to the greater Austin region,” said Senior Vice President for Global Technology Strategies at the Chamber, Susan Davenport.

AUSTIN, TX, April 8, 2011. Bruce Stewart recently caught up with Tactical Information Systems CTO, Dr. Alex Kilpatrick and CEO, Mary Haskett to talk about biometrics and privacy in advance of their presentation on the subject at the O'Reilly Where 2.0 Conference.

"Applying biometric matching to location-based surveillance technologies produces both fascinating possibilities and scary scenarios.

I recently spoke with Tactical Information Systems CTO Alex Kilpatrick and Mary Haskett, co-founder and president, about the state of biometrics and what we need to be concerned about as surveillance becomes more prevalent in our society. They'll expand on many of these ideas during a session at the upcoming Where 2.0 Conference."

The entire interview can be read here. Where 2.0: 2011, being held April 19-21 in Santa Clara, Calif., will explore the intersection of location technologies and trends in software development, business strategies, and marketing.

Santa Clara, CA, April 25, 2011. WanderID was selected by the producers of the 2nd annual Privacy Identity Innovation conference (pii2011) to participate in the Innovator Spotlight start-up showcase. Over 200 leading executives, technologists, policy experts, academic researchers and journalists will gather at the Santa Clara Marriott hotel May 19-20 for the pii2011 conference, and one of the highlights will be the Innovator Spotlight on May 19 where 12 entrepreneurs from around the country will demo their technologies on stage.


The pii2011 conference will look at where innovation is heading and what it means for the future of digital privacy, identity, reputation and trust with speakers from over 50 companies and organizations, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, HP, Intuit, PrivacyChoice, Open ID Foundation and the ACLU.

The Innovator Spotlight, which is sponsored by Innovators Network, will offer participants a chance to hear firsthand from 12 start-up founders who are developing innovative new products and services that are changing the way that people create, collect and share personal information. “The goal is to showcase a range of technologies and we’re very excited about the start-ups that are participating because each one takes a unique approach to the problem it’s trying to address.” said Natalie Fonseca, co-founder and executive producer of pii2011.

AUSTIN, TX, April 2, 2011. Tactical Information Systems founders, Mary Haskett and Dr. Alex Kilpatrick were invited to present as part of a panel on facial recognition at the Augmented Reality Event on May 17th in Santa Clara, CA. This presentation continues the efforts of TIS founders to bring issues of privacy and technology to the public's attention.

Augmented Reality Event 2011

"This is a topic that is very important to me", said Dr. Kilpatrick, co-founder of TIS. "The intersection of technology and privacy policy is complex. The technology is moving so much faster than the public's interest in or understanding of the policies. There are decisions being made every day about how to use this new technology and the long range ramifications to those decisions isn't understood. It's an important issue to talk about."

AUSTIN, TX, March 17, 2011. As part of its continued outreach to the community on the topics of identification, biometrics, and privacy, Tactical Information Systems cofounders Mary Haskett and Dr. Alex Kilpatrick will present "The Surveillance Society – Checking You In, Even When You Want to Hide" at O’Reilly Where 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, CA on April 20, 2011.

Where 2.0 2011

This presentation is a follow-up to a popular Ignite! New York speech by Dr. Kilpatrick called “Defeating Big Brother – How to Fool Biometric Sensors”. “It may seem odd that I work in biometrics and security systems and I’m still very concerned about privacy,” says Dr. Kilpatrick, “but it’s all about controlling what you share voluntarily and having some control over what people do with that information.”

AUSTIN, TX, January 26, 2011. Tactical Information Systems (TIS) announced today that it has been awarded a one-year contract from the Center for Defense Systems Research (CDSR) at The University of Texas at El Paso for “Assessment Study for Testing & Evaluation (T&E) of Biometric Systems Interoperability”. TIS will help identify gaps in current methods for testing and evaluating biometric systems across a broad range of agencies both at the federal, state and local level and including commercial companies and academic organizations. “We are pleased to extend our relationship with The University of Texas at El Paso and the CDSR,” said Dr. Alex Kilpatrick, co-founder of TIS. “This project will allow us to leverage our experience and expertise with DOD level biometric systems. Biometrics is a complex area, and there are many areas where we can help develop new approaches for testing and evaluation, providing fundamental improvements to the real-world performance of biometric systems.”

AUSTIN, TX, January 12, 2011. Mary Haskett, co-founder of Tactical Information Systems, has been selected as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Texas State University. She will serve as a mentor to the participants of the RampCorp program, a coaching/incubator program offered through the Office of Commercialization and Industry Relations. The program is called The Odyssey Program in El Paso and is being offered in collaboration with Innovate El Paso. Participants will receive coaching from experienced investors, entrepreneurs, inventors and business leaders, and have the opportunity to learn about area resources to grow ventures. They also receive guidance in starting, growing and funding, and learn every aspect of running a scalable company.

The program launched in Austin last year and has grown to three cities in the current year with additional cities already being planned. The program in Austin and El Paso focus on coaching women and the program in San Marcus focuses on technology startups. “I’m very pleased to be a part of the program,” said Ms. Haskett, “and to find myself included in such an impressive group of women. The mentors in this program are the real deal, and the lessons we are teaching we the ones we learned in the trenches.”

AUSTIN, TX, December 9, 2010. Tactical Information Systems has released a training video to help police, hospital, EMT and fire department personnel as well as other first responders learn quickly about WanderID. The video will facilitate the outreach activities of Tactical Information Systems, developers of WanderID. “The response we’ve gotten from the first responder community has been fantastic,” said Mary Haskett, co-founder of Tactical Information Systems, “and it was obvious that we had to find a way to accelerate the process. We are really happy with the way the video came out, and excited to be able to reach more people more efficiently. WanderID is easy to use and requires no proprietary hardware or accounts – there are no passwords or login IDs to remember so the training process is really easy.” The video will be distributed to first responders in the Central Texas area, quickly expanding to the rest of the state and beyond after an initial beta testing period.

AUSTIN, TX, November 18, 2010. Tactical Information Systems was named one of the finalists in the 2010 Startup Open, a competition for startups with high-growth potential. The top prize is a trip to Richard Branson's private Necker Island to network with experienced entrepreneurs.

A panel of judges reviewed the entries and selected Tactical Information Systems as one of the "GEW 50"-- the 50 most promising startups launched during the week – based on a range of criteria including strength of concept, growth projections and knowledge of the market. Startup Open is one of thousands of events taking place in more than 100 countries during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

A list of all 50 finalists can be found here: GEW 50.pdf.

AUSTIN, TX, November 4, 2010. Tactical Information Systems co-founder Mary Haskett has been invited to speak at the IBM Austin Innovators and Entrepreneurs Series in January 2011. Her presentation, “The Accidental Entrepreneur”, describes her journey through bootstrapping three profitable companies. The series is sponsored by the Austin Chamber of Commerce and the IBM Innovation Center in Austin, TX. The series is designed to bring together IT entrepreneurs, startups, venture capital firms, academics and leaders from the Austin Chamber of Commerce, City of Austin, companies from the local community and IBM. The series is scheduled to run through 2011 and will feature different entrepreneurial luminaries and topics at each meeting.

AUSTIN, TX, October 5, 2010. Mary Haskett, CEO & Co-founder of Tactical Information Systems, was featured in the article “ACTiVATing Woman into Entrepreneurship at Mid-Career” in the October 2010 issue of Enterprising Woman. The article is by Julie Lenzer Kirk, an instructor with the ACTiVATE program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. The program, funded through the NSF, was named “Best Specialty Entrepreneurship Program” by the US Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

ACTiVATE is a program designed to mentor experienced female business executives through the process of starting up technology based businesses. Over the course of a year, the group is guided through the entire process of starting a company from intellectual property and patent licensing through raising money.

Ms. Haskett graduated from the ACTiVATE program licensed by Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.

AUSTIN, TX, October 8, 2010. Tactical Information Systems co-founder Mary Haskett was invited to present WanderID at TechCocktail Austin Startup Breakfast hosted by Grasshopper Group. TechCocktail is a media & events company connecting, educating and amplifying the start-up technology community. Started as a community building event in 2006 hosted by Frank Gruber and Eric Olsen, Tech Cocktail hosts mixer events and covers technology start-ups around the country. The event provides a rejuvenating breakfast and an opportunity to mingle with like-minded folks and meet some demo companies.

Note: video of the WanderID pitch can be found on YouTube.

AUSTIN, TX, September 27, 2010. Dr. Alex Kilpatrick’s presentation on defeating various technological tools of a possible surveillance society was highlighted in an article by Andy Greenberg of Forbes.com. “How To Hide Your Face From Big Brother? Try Sunglasses,” gives a preview of Dr. Kilpatrick’s presentation for tonight’s Ignite NYC event which is part of the opening night of the O’Reilly Web 2.0 Conference & Expo.

The presentation reviews each of the key technologies used for covert surveillance and/or monitoring and discussed the real capabilities of the current technology and ways to defeat or confound the technology. The presentation is available from the Ignite! New York website at http://igniteshow.com/videos/defeating-big-brother-ep-75.

Ignite NYC’s motto is “Enlighten us, but make it quick!”, a reference to the novel format – each presentation is only 5 minutes long and has 20 slides rotating automatically every 15 seconds

AUSTIN, TX, August 15, 2010. WanderID, the first product from Tactical Information Systems has been accepted into the Web 2.0 Expo Startup Showcase. The showcase is designed to highlight the creativity and variety of the startup scene and give the conference attendees a chance to see the newest Web 2.0 companies entering the market.

Twenty five startups were selected and will demo in one big room for an hour. The crowd circulates – changing tables every five minutes following a chime in a format reminiscent of speed dating. At the end of the hour, Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media Inc. and Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures will each announce their choice for top company and one will be selected by an audience vote. The three startups will be invited to give their pitch on-stage and do a question and answer session in front of the audience with Tim and Fred.

AUSTIN, TX, July 20, 2010. WanderID, the first product developed by Tactical Information Systems, was highlighted in an article about identification products for special needs children:

High-Tech Child Identification Systems

A high-tech option that does not use a bracelet system is WanderID created by Tactical Information Systems. “WanderID uses biometric face matching technology that is being adapted from Department of Defense technology and applied to the consumer market,” said Mary Haskett, president and co-founder of Tactical Information Systems, in an email.

Parents or caregivers upload a photo of the child and emergency information into the WanderID system. If a child wanders, the person who locates the child can take a digital photo and upload it onto the company’s website. The person finding the child is then connected with the parent or caregiver through the company’s switchboard.

“The WanderID solution can't be lost or removed (unlike ID jewelry) and the contact information can be updated 24/7 so that if the family travels, moves or if the child goes to camp, the contact information is easily kept current,” Haskett said. Subscriptions to the WanderID service are $9.95 per month or $99.95 per year.

Read more at Suite101: Child Identification Products for Special Needs Children