Private companies with access to personally identifiable data, such as credit card information, may be able to work with the U.S. Census Bureau to provide new insights into gross domestic product through the National Technical Information Service Joint Venture Partnership program.

Avi Bender, Director of NTIS, used this hypothetical example of collaboration as just one possible partnership that can result from the JVP. At an information session on Thursday morning, Bender announced an industry-government venture program, in which private companies can provide data service to Federal agencies.

“This is going to give private companies an opportunity to have a conversation with Federal customers,” Bender said. “Many things can happen when you are able to sit in front of someone and interact.”

Bender said one goal of the program is to improve the value of big data for Federal agencies. While data can be descriptive, he said, it is most valuable when it is predictive and prescriptive. NTIS’s JVP invites companies to analyze data and predict data patterns in order to create a product that addresses the problem statement of a certain agency.

Companies that wish to participate in the JVP must submit applications, including a business model, by Aug. 1. Bender, along with Greg Capella, Deputy Director of NTIS, a team of three reviewers, and the NTIS oversight board will select the applications on the basis of merit. According to Bender, the selected companies can potentially derive new information from the Census Bureau, combine census and sensor data to secure national data grids, and provide agencies with a Common Open Data Analytics Platform.

“The Department of Commerce has exceptional promise in the data field,” Bender said. “[This program] is what I call big data analytic opportunities.”

The NTIS plans to finalize selection of JVP companies by the end of September. Once selected for the program, companies will apply for project opportunities issued by Federal agencies.

“Ninety-five percent of NTIS revenue comes from other agencies. We know how to engage private entities in a very agile way,” said Sivaraj Shyam-Sunder, senior adviser to the deputy secretary of DOC and chair of the NTIS oversight board. “We want to focus on projects that have innovation at the core.”

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Eleanor Lamb
Eleanor Lamb
Eleanor Lamb is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Big Data, FITARA, Homeland Security, Education, Workforce Issues, and Civilian Agencies.