How One Customer Experience Agency is Helping Keep the Planet Safe.
Coronal mass ejection (what? we hear you say) is not something we think about on a day-to-day basis. But it is a real phenomenon, caused by solar storms, that can have a disastrous effect on our lives. To the uninitiated, periods of high solar activity results in a gush of material and energy warps that, when they hit our planet, distort the Earth’s magnetic field. The result is what is known as a geomagnetic storm, a disturbance in the magnetosphere that can disrupt radio communications and navigation systems and can also be hazardous to satellites, pipelines, and electrical equipment – such as the device you are using to read this article right now.
Space: The Final UX Frontier
So what does a customer experience (CX) and User Experience (UX) agency have to do with geomagnetic storms and their consequences? The answer is simple. Like hurricanes, mankind is as yet unable to do anything about solar storms. However, relying on satellites like the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) or the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), we can predict, track and prepare for these onslaughts. And it is the processing – and in particular the visualization of this data – where Tactis comes in.
From Ground Control to Major Developments
The ‘Space Weather Analysis Forecast Systems’ program (SWAFS), now renamed the ‘SDA Environmental Toolkit For Defense’ (SET4D), is how America keeps abreast of geomagnetic storms. Principally, the renamed SET4D tool alerts us when events or anomalies occur, and helps operators analyze and interpret what the sensors are picking up.
Two bodies – the ‘U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center,’ and the ‘General Services Administration's Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM) – recently awarded Tactis and partner Peraton a five-year performance contract to provide SET4D personnel with an improved capability to analyze sensor data related to solar flares, solar winds and other space environmental conditions that may affect high-altitude aircraft, and space- and ground-based systems.’
In addition, Tactis has been charged with helping to migrate the SET4D software applications to a cloud environment and deploy a data-as-a-service interface so that users get more direct access to near-real-time data. Use of this data collection model will allow the U.S. Department of Defense and other government organizations to increase the number of data sources available to the SET4D program and upgrade its capacity to collate and correlate data.’
In layman’s terms, operators need more real-time data than what they are currently receiving. This is important as the current system does not allow operators to make real-time changes based on the data they receive. They have no choice but to wait hours to days to weeks to get that data implemented. The tool (or suite of applications) that Tactis is creating with SET4D is being designed to give a higher fidelity to operators, bringing them many steps closer to increased real-time actions that they can take towards understanding the anomalies that happen.
We Have Lift-Off
For the team working on the project, there have been several learning curves. The first was just getting to understand the complex scientific principles behind everything, plus a level of hardcore physics to get past. Another was to understand what the operators needs and wants were and what the mission requires. As any UX/UI designer will tell you, getting to understand the wants and needs of the user is paramount to creating a seamless experience. A third pain point is the age of the old SWAFS tool (somewhere between 10 and 15 years). The world has changed a lot in that time, especially on the technology front.
The old way of displaying the data lacked a visual impression outside of a data chart. What the team is doing now is combining that data that is being pooled and representing it in an XYZ 3-D environment. This is to ensure a higher level of fidelity that goes with the data and to help give the operators a better understanding of what is occurring from what they are seeing in their data charts.
The Heliosphere is the Limit
The goal for the team over the next five years is to really understand space weather analysis forecast environments, as well as all tools and programs, starting small with separate space environment divisions, but expanding out with each toolset that it builds. Tactis’s ongoing work with SET4D is just one more example of how it is pushing the boundaries in UX/UI design to new stratospheres.
Our UX/UI design capabilities only scratch the surface of what we offer. Beyond these, the Tactis team specializes in user-centric self-service, AI-driven insights, omnichannel orchestration, automation of emerging channels, and smart contact centers, all with the goal of helping clients attain the kind of human experience platforms that not only help unite omnichannel experiences but ensure that users feel respected in their engagement with those experiences.
Tactis is a full lifecycle customer experience agency working for organizations across all points of communication, combining human touch with digital expertise to create outcomes that matter. By delivering high-touch solutions that span marketing, technology, and human interactions – through leveraging data and embracing technology – Tactis generates transformational customer experiences that ensure companies own the high-expectation, high-attention moments from which truly human experiences can emerge. For more information visit www.tactis.com.