Study release: AI and San Diego’s Cyber Cluster

EDC study quantifies the impact of AI in region’s Cybersecurity cluster

Today, alongside Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE) and Booz Allen Hamilton, EDC released the second study in a series on the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) within San Diego County’s key economic clusters. “Securing the Future: AI and San Diego’s Cyber Cluster” quantifies the economic impact of the region’s Cybersecurity cluster and explores the proliferation of AI and ML technologies being used to thwart cybercrimes, among other critical needs by the private-sector and government.

While the term “Cyber” has become household nomenclature only in the past decade or so, the industry dates back 50 years. As cyberattacks and ransomware threats on local mega-brands fill our headlines, and our digital and non-digital worlds further integrate, the importance of and need for Cybersecurity cannot be overstated.

Underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton, the web-based study—cyber.sandiegoAI.org—includes a timeline on the history of Cybersecurity, a roster of recent Defense-Cyber contracts and subsequent job growth, details on the $3.5 billion economic impact of the Cyber cluster, and a set of recommendations for driving the use of AI and ML across the region.

“This series serves to spotlight the importance of AI-ML application within the region’s key industries—which contrary to popular belief—is helping drive productivity, job growth, innovation, and security here and around the globe. While there is work to be done in getting more San Diegans plugged into Cyber and related jobs, the industry has proven to be an engine of growth, even despite disruptions brought on by COVID-19,” said Nate Kelley, Senior Research Manager, San Diego Regional EDC.

Key findings

  • The region’s Cyber companies are significantly more engaged with AI and ML technologies than firms in other industries. Cyber firms are developing AI at a rate 2.5 to three times the regional average. Moreover, half of all Cyber companies implemented AI at least three years ago compared with 43 percent across all industries.
  • AI has generated unparalleled productivity gains. Productivity in the Cyber cluster has grown 7.5 percent since 2018, nearly triple the average for all San Diego industries, thanks to the development and adoption of AI.
  • AI is producing jobs, not eliminating them. Some 61 percent of Cyber businesses plan to hire workers—including AI specialists—in the next year. Moreover, AI has helped the industry to sidestep chronic labor shortages by automating tedious, repeatable tasks and allowing current workers to do more with their time.
  • Talent shortages abound. Despite industry employment growing by 7.4 percent since 2018, 80 to 90 percent of local Cyber companies cited difficulty sourcing qualified workers. The region’s colleges and universities are expanding their course offerings to bridge these gaps, but more must be done to better draw students to these programs.
  • Home to the largest concentration of military assets in the world, San Diego—and its Cyber firms—are positioned for growth. Nearly three in five local Cyber firms work directly or indirectly for the federal government, including the Department of Defense, and 32 percent focus exclusively on fulfilling federal contracts. Defense contracts are typically big, multiyear investments that provide stability to San Diego’s Cyber industry.

“It should come as no surprise that San Diego is at the heart of transforming the defense industrial base leveraging today’s latest technology, while working to mitigate the risks inherent to increased connectivity and data-centric decision making,” said Jennie Brooks, Senior Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton—underwriter of the EDC study series—and leader of the firm’s San Diego office, which employs over 1,200 professionals working on cybersecurity, analytics, engineering and IT modernization. “It’s clear that 5G, AI, ML, and cyber warfare will define our future battlefields, digital, and physical—and while we are encouraged by the report findings, we must all be ready to meet this new mission by fostering Cyber-ready tech talent, investing in up-skilling and reskilling programs, implementing rigorous cyber hygiene practices from the board level down, and coming together as a regional cluster to define how these new technologies will further—and safely—shape the San Diego region in the coming years.”

Cyber is an important and rapidly growing piece of the San Diego regional economy. Notably, every Cyber job generates another job in other industries in the region. The cluster accounts for 24,349 San Diego jobs across 874 firms, and has a total economic impact of $3.5 billion annually. This is about the equivalent of nine Super Bowls or 23 Comic-Cons.

“San Diego’s premier educational institutions, diverse industry base and robust federal assets seed not only the Cyber workforce but the innovation needed to protect our nation,” said Lisa Easterly, President & CEO, CCOE.

The study series is underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton and produced by San Diego Regional EDC. The report was unveiled at a virtual, community event (video recording below) sponsored by CCOE and Thermo Fisher Scientific, with representatives from Booz Allen Hamilton, ESET, Analytics Ventures, Cal State San Marcos, and Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, among others.

Read the full study at cyber.sandiegoAI.org

 

Securing the Future AI and San Diego’s Cyber Cluster Event Recording.mp4 from San Diego Regional EDC on Vimeo.

San Diego’s Growing Digital Global Footprint

The technology that will power a post-COVID world is being invented and perfected in our backyard.  San Diego’s leading tech, defense, and life science companies are making large investments to prepare for a world that will be increasingly digital, connected, and autonomous. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science are transforming nearly every industry, giving rise to important discussions concerning jobs, ethics, and privacy.

Against the backdrop of rising protectionism and an escalating US-China conflict, the evolution of a global policy regime governing the development and deployment of strategic technology will have massive implications for both national security as well as US competitiveness.

Through the Global Competitiveness Council (GCC), San Diego leaders came together to discuss these key issues along with companies who are at the forefront of every disruptive trend reshaping the world today.

San Diego companies to keep an eye on:

LunaDNA

Our region is known around the world for its unparalleled life sciences companies and LunaDNA is an exceptional example data science and AI in health sciences. LunaDNA, founded by Luna Public Benefit Corporation (LunaPBC) is a community-owned platform for health research. Anyone can join, share their health data, and receive ownership shares in the company. When researchers conduct studies on the data on the LunaDNA secure platform, the proceeds are passed back to the community as dividends.

ServiceNow

ServiceNow believes in the power of technology to reduce the complexity in our jobs and make work, work better for people. The company transforms old, manual ways of working into modern digital workflows. Employees and customers get what they need, when they need it-exactly what every company needs in light of COVID-19.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI)

San Diego-headquartered General Atomics-ASI specializes in research and technology development, providing remotely operated surveillance aircraft. GA-ASI’s innovations and high-tech solutions have produced a growing line of versatile, reliable, cost-effective, and proven Remotely Piloted Aircraft.

Booz Allen Hamilton

Consulting firm, Booz-Allen, brings bold thinking and a desire to be the best in its work on consulting, analytics, digital solutions, engineering, and cyber, and with industries ranging from defense to health to energy to international development.

Brain Corp

Brain Corp provides autonomous solutions that enable OEMs and Robotics Startups to turn their manually driven products into intelligent machines. The company is now focused on developing advanced machine learning and computer vision systems for the next generation of self-driving robots.

ABOUT WORLD TRADE CENTER SAN DIEGO

World Trade Center San Diego operates as an affiliate of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. WTC San Diego works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment, and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad.

Do you want to know more about the work of World Trade Center San Diego? Click here to receive our monthly Global Brief Newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.

Workshop Recap: State and Local Resources for Small Business Defense Contractors

In collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), EDC hosted a complimentary workshop for small business working directly with the defense industry. Attendees learned about state and local resources that are available to help their businesses grow. Below is additional material to learn about incentives, resources, and programs that help with commercialization, international expansion, and business growth in the San Diego and California regions.

The featured presenters included business experts from San Diego Regional EDC, East County EDC, World Trade Center San Diego, City of San Diego, and SBDC. The event is supported by NDIA, SDMAC, SBDC and East County EDC and is funded in part through the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development’s CASCADE Program.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL PRESENTATION

Planck Aerosystems wins Defense Innovation Voucher Program Grand Prize

Planck Aerosystems
Planck Aerosystems
, a technology company that develops specialized drones, was awarded a $25,000 voucher as part of its participation in the inaugural Defense Innovation Voucher Program (DIV) Grand Prize Pitch. Launched in 2018 to help small and mid-sized defense companies in San Diego scale, the DIV Program worked directly with 15 local defense companies throughout 2018-2019, providing strategic boot camps and business consulting services via an initial $15,000 grant to aid in strengthening and expanding company operations.

“Our local defense economy supports one in five jobs, and small businesses represent 98 percent of total companies in our region,” said Mark Cafferty, president & CEO, San Diego Regional EDC. “This is why EDC is committed to building programs that promote defense innovation and build resiliency in small and mid-sized businesses.”

Five DIV companies were chosen to participate in the DIV Grand Prize Pitch, based on their accomplishments, goals and overall involvement in the program. The finalists were EpiSci (EpiSys Science Inc.), Fuse Integration, Inc., GET Engineering Corporation, Planck Aerosystems and Trabus Technologies.

A live voting audience and a panel of judges selected Planck Aerosystems as the winner.

Planck is thrilled to win the Grand Prize Pitch event and be a part of DIV’s first year,” said Dave Twining, COO of Planck Aerosystems. “Thanks to San Diego Regional EDC, Booz Allen Hamilton and Propel San Diego for your guidance and support through the DIV program. We’ll be using the funds to scale our marketing efforts, which we hope will generate additional sales and investment in San Diego.”

In its inaugural year, the DIV program provided two primary benefits to chosen participants. Companies selected a pre-approved contractor to assist with services including marketing, certifications needed for government work, strategic planning, accounting compliance or lean supply chain & additive manufacturing support. Additionally, participants enrolled in a six-month-long boot camp, which provided best practices and strategies on topics ranging from contract procurement to fundraising to marketing and branding.

“We are proud to support the continued innovation that is a hallmark of the San Diego defense community,” said Jennie Brooks, senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton. “At Booz Allen, we empower people to change the world, and DIV’s mission helps empower and strengthen the small and mid-size businesses that are bringing an incredible range of solutions to all branches of the military.”

Managed by San Diego Regional EDC, DIV is primarily funded through Propel San Diego, a grant award provided to the City of San Diego from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment. Additional programmatic funding for DIV is provided by Booz Allen Hamilton, the presenting sponsor.

The DIV Grand Prize Pitch event was hosted at San Diego Central Library on Thursday, May 23, with a keynote presentation by Marisa Silva, partner at Booz Allen Hamilton.

Planck Aerosystems

EDC study first to quantify impact of defense spending in SD

Last week, President Trump signed a two-year budget deal that included a hike in the debt ceiling and agreements to raise spending caps for domestic and defense programs.

For San Diego, a community where 20 percent of our GRP is tied to the military, this bill provides some stability and relief from the constant threat of continuing resolutions and sequester.

In order to better understand how fluctuations in defense spending impact our regional economy, EDC has released “Mapping San Diego’s Defense Ecosystem,” as well as a data visualization tool at SanDiego.DoDspend.com. This is the first of its kind regional analysis that focuses on the industrial composition of the defense supply chain and quantifies the number of firms and jobs that are impacted by defense spending. This project was executed as part of phase one of Propel San Diego, a Department of Defense funded grant initiative awarded to the City of San Diego.

Specifically, the web tool provides deal flow information at the zip code level and by industry across the county. Why this matters: the 2019 budget includes two Fleet Replenishment Oilers (T-AO) priced at $1.1 billion. These ships will likely be built by General Dynamics NASSCO here in San Diego. While those contracts are awarded over a period time, by using this new tool, users can see that this funding will have a direct impact in creating more than 1,000 jobs in the shipbuilding and repair industry.

Key study findings include:

  • San Diego is the second largest recipient of defense procurement dollars in the U.S.
  • A strong network of suppliers and access to customers are key reasons that 71 percent of firms have a favorable view of San Diego as a place to do business.
  • Defense contractor jobs have grown 6.3 percent over the last three years, and are expected to grow another 9.3 percent over the next year.
  • Since 2012, the majority of contract dollars received by the region were awarded by the Department of the Navy, each year awarding between 44 and 55 percent of total awards.
  • The majority of contract dollars were awarded to companies in the manufacturing industry, each year receiving anywhere between 47 and 68 percent of total contract dollars.

These resources provide companies, city planners, workforce agencies and economic development organizations better insights into how legislation like the bill signed into law last week can impact the San Diego community. The data has the potential to help companies prepare for new market opportunities and help communities prepare for changes in workforce demands, as has helped inform how EDC can better prioritize our limited resources in support of the region’s defense industry.

Following the successful execution of Propel San Diego’s phase one, the City of San Diego has been awarded a phase two grant for an additional $1.7 million. For more information, visit sdmac.org/propel.

Read the full study here.

Study: Mapping San Diego’s Defense Ecosystem

Summary

For more than a century, San Diego’s defense cluster has been at the heart of the regional economy. The breadth and depth of defense activity stretches far beyond military bases and naval ships; from telecomm to robotics, aerospace to cybersecurity, San Diego’s defense cluster is the driving force behind the region’s innovation economy. In absence of the defense cluster, it is doubtful San Diego would be the global innovation hub it is today. In 2017, defense-related spending contributed $25.2 billion to the regional economy. More than $9 billion came from defense contracts procured by private firms, making San Diego the second largest recipient of defense procurement dollars nationwide. Today, there are more than 5,600 defense contractors connected to the region’s defense cluster. The overwhelming majority are small businesses in the manufacturing and professional, scientific, and technical service sectors which, together, account for 81 percent of all defense-specific contractor employment.

As a region heavily reliant upon defense spending, uncertainty surrounding the federal defense budget poses a potential threat to the region’s essential network of defense contractors and, more broadly, the regional economy. In order to better understand and support the local defense cluster, a survey of defense contractors in the region was conducted to gauge perceptions of the business climate, with the ultimate goal of informing the development of specific programs designed to enhance the resiliency of local companies.

Read the full report