Free To Frolic in Commercial World
It’s a new day at LGS Innovations. The Herndon, Va., company recently divested from its previous owners, Alcatel-Lucent, and is now in a position to pursue the commercial business it was restricted from while under the previous ownership. CEO Kevin Kelly says the company will now market the networking and communications solutions it’s been selling to the federal government to banking, utilities, transportation, and healthcare companies. The company also has plans to take some of the advanced technologies it’s developed for the defense industry and tweak them for a commercial audience. (Are we all getting drones?!) Kevin says its government business is also on pace to grow 18% this year.
Kevin and products, solutions, applications group president Paul Selby show off one of the company’s labs. Kevin envisions using LGS’s technology in the automotive industry, which is gobbling up tech gadgets for driver safety and to improve the driving experience. The sensor technology used in cars is similar to the high-speed data communications LGS has designed for UAVs, autonomous robotics, and sensor technology for finding IEDs. Kevin says the plan is to either license the technology to companies already in those markets or produce their own products. The company has already started licensing discussions with its defense partners that have a commercial business. LGS Innovations won its first commercial customer, building a video wall for Polo’s conference center in South Carolina.
Kevin, who started at LGS as a Bell Labs engineer, showed us an early switchboard in the company lobby that represents the company’s roots in AT&T and Lucent. LGS Innovations has 700 employees—450 of them with scientific or engineering backgrounds. Kevin says the challenge of building a gadget for defense meant producing about 100 of them. But the commercial sector needs tens of thousands and that infrastructure hasn’t yet been set up. The company also needs to be careful about using its government labs to develop commercial products. But pursuing commercial business means business can move a little faster. Kevin says he’ll present the first phase of the company’s plan to pursue commercial work to its board next month. LGS plans to conclude new licensing agreements by the end of the summer and could start introducing commercially-available products in 2015.