Larry Schaffer's picture

Larry Schaffer

Larry Schaffer has been with GE in a business development role since 2001, and works to create and maintain long-term, strategic relationships with key companies engaged in embedded computing for ground systems applications with a strong emphasis on image processing and distribution. He was born in Pennsylvania and educated as an Electrical Engineer in New Jersey and California (where he now lives). Just don’t ask him to tell you about being a war baby…

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GE Rugged

AUSA 2015 Day 3: Wrapping Up and Looking Forward

So: what have we learned over the past couple of days (other than that the rainfall in our conference room wasn’t actually from the air conditioning, but from melting ice left over from a party in the room above us)? SWaP It’s always good to get confirmation that we’re on the right track with our product development, and AUSA has unquestionably done that for us when it comes to size, weight and power. Everybody—but everybody—we’ve spoken to has...


AUSA Day 2

AUSA 2015 Day 2: Don't Rain on Our Parade

You know, you can plan for months and months for a show—and that's exactly what we did for our participation at AUSA —but there are things you just can't plan for. Like the weather, for example. Don't get me wrong: outside, it's beautiful. It's inside where we have a problem. Yep: it rained in our conference room. You heard me right. I have no idea how big the exhibition space here is—it may run to hundreds of thousands of square feet—but the...


AUSA Day 1

AUSA 2015 Day 1: A Warm Welcome

Well, I finally get to catch my breath and a chance to update you on how it’s going here at AUSA. Set-up yesterday went really well: it’s always a sign of success when you only need to make one trip to Radio Shack. Today, the GE team never got a moment’s rest from the moment the doors opened. The show may have officially closed an hour ago—but that doesn’t mean everyone leaves the booth. It was Columbus Day, of course, and you might have thought...


AUSA Annual Meeting

AUSA 2015: Ready, Steady, Go

Here we are again. Less than a week to go before our biggest event of the year: the Association of the U.S. Army Annual meeting and symposium . It’s a really big deal. Those of you who are regular readers may recall from last year’s posts on the AUSA show that it attracts thousands of attendees, from military personnel of all stripes (from 4-stars to “slicks” ). Military contractors abound and show off their latest technologies and products. The...


PV panels

The Art of the Possible

We work with the U.S. Army in the area of embedded computing. Now, you might think that this is pretty high-tech—but in many ways, the computers in our front-line fighting vehicles are not as powerful as the computer you are reading this article on right now. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? There are lots of reasons for this. First, there is the very long time it takes to get any device that goes on an Army vehicle qualified for use. (After all...


Army Vehicles

Convergence and the Internet of Things

In my role as the business development guy for our Ground Systems activities, I work a lot with embedded computing architectures on military vehicles. Convergence is an initiative that dominates the U.S. Army’s current thinking. It was mandated sometime in the last couple years as a way to eliminate the plethora of individual (and often incompatible) sub-systems in vehicles for communication, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance),...



Hot from GVSETS

Those of you who saw my post from this symposium last year will recognize the acronym; GVSETS is the Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium run by the NDIA (National Defense Industrial Association) in Michigan. Wow: what an event! This year blew last year’s attendance away; over 900 folks attended on the first day to listen to the most eminent leaders in the Army ground systems industry. The keynote was delivered by Dr. Paul...


The Future of Knowledge: Part Two

Last week I talked about the interrelationship between data, information and knowledge—and ended, tantalizingly, with the question of what it all had to do with the Connected Battlefield. Well, here’s the answer you’ve been waiting for. Like all of us, today’s warfighter is drowning in data. We have developed all manner of systems for capturing and delivering data. Petabytes of the stuff flow into storage every day and are doggedly organized...


Information Age

The Future of Knowledge: Part One

When I was a young person (when my personal computer was a slide rule, and bikinis were obscene) I thought that data and information were basically the same thing, and that knowledge was simply information stored in a person’s head. Through the passing of time, I have learned this is not true. I also learned that PCs and bikinis are really awesome, but that’s not what this blog is about. It's about how data, information and knowledge are related...



Thinking in a Different Way: Computing as a Utility

Lately, we’ve been out promoting our embedded computing hardware to a wide audience of senior Army leadership, and I must say that the response has been great. But, as you probably know, these people are not the ones who actually buy stuff from us (those are primes and integrators). They are, however the folks that command those who most depend on how well our stuff performs—our soldiers. You can see why we want to know what they think and what...



Of Screwdrivers and Lug Wrenches

Some of you will recall that I recently attended the AUSA Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama. Having had a great many meetings with Army and defense industry folks of all stripes gave me some new insight into the Army’s goals and challenges—and what I came away with caused me to ponder how we define and develop products. It’s really interesting to me that we all, to some extent, race down our own rabbit holes of thought when...


AUSA Global Force Day 3: The Show’s a Hit

Short day today—the show is only open for three hours. I was thinking that, with only one appointment left, I would get an opportunity to walk the show. Boy, was I wrong. Our first appointment showed up and that took an hour and a half. Great meeting, though. A couple other walk-ons and—wow, now it’s 30 minutes left and folks are breaking down their booths already (I hate that—it’s so rude. Shouldn't the ref throw them a yellow card?). We waited...


AUSA Global Force

AUSA Global Force Day 2: Tired, but Pumped

OK folks: another long day. Got to the booth two hours before the show opened, hoping for the quiet time I needed to write up notes from the day before. Wow! I need to work on my penmanship because it looks like I wrote "Pyldhr vih cl wyr in May." I guess it’s possible that I was just musing on some Welsh phrase I learned from my time there, but I doubt it. (Any Welsh speakers want to weigh in here?) Anyway, I got most of the way through my...


3-star Lieutenant Patricia McQuistion

AUSA Global Force Day 1: Larry and John Meet the High-ups

Off to a running start. I can't believe this is the "small" Army show. The traffic has been great, and it's a good thing I’m writing this rather than dictating it because I'm a bit hoarse from talking to folks. So far, we have had three program managers and a 3-star general stop by. (I’m pretty sure it’s because of my " More Is Less " post, but it might be because John Chehansky and I look like a cross between aging Hollywood stars and...


AUSA Arrives: Can Someone Move These Camels?

The AUSA Global Force Symposium and Exposition is taking place in Huntsville, Alabama, March 31–April 2, and GE’s man-about-town, peripatetic business development guy and serial trade show attender is already there. Watch this space for continued coverage... Well, today is setup day. I got in here yesterday, actually, but as the circus was in town using our exhibit hall, I was unable to move the camels out of our booth space. (Readers familiar...


Armored Vehicle

More Is Less

More is less—and that’s an idea we're really on board with. That’s not to say more is worth less; more is still worth more. But, in fact, less is worth even more. Confused? Let me explain with a story (I always have a story…). I recall buying a new car costing $10,000. It was 1980, and that was a huge amount of money (at least to me) and way more than I had ever paid before, but the car was so cool, so modern and state-of-the-art. In looking...


Emergency Physician

Is House a Business Development Guy in Disguise?

Last year, I made my first contribution to this blog. It was on the matter of business development and sought to define what it is "BD" people do. In that intervening year, I have been taking "Great Courses." One of these was "Grand Rounds." In this course, the lecturer—a physician— went through the process by which a doctor diagnoses problems in patients. It struck me immediately that this problem-solving process is very similar to the BD...


Trends: 5 More

Trends: 5 More for 2015

Now that the holiday season is wrapped up, everyone seems intent on making predictions for the future. This is an annual ritual (along with the usual exercise and weight loss resolutions, Oscar buzz and corporate motivational speeches). While I am no clairvoyant, there are a number of things that seem pretty obvious as trends for the coming year in the embedded computing domain, and while these trends look to continue for some time further, the...


Big Data: A Force for Good...or Evil?

We hear a lot about “Big Data” today. The idea of capturing enormous bodies of data and then analyzing that data is heralded for its potential to understand the cosmos, cure disease, provide safety for our citizens and save the environment… For all its promise, though, there are as many voices that decry it as the very end of privacy, liberty and security. What we have are two enormous and very polarizing viewpoints about Big Data in modern...