AFRL announces ORION, a new 'star' in emerging technology landscape

ROME, N.Y. — The Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate, in collaboration with several partners, including Assured Information Security, Quanterion Solutions, Griffiss Institute, NYSTEC, and Cisco, has introduced ORION, "a technology accelerator and innovation ecosystem that is revolutionizing military and cyber capabilities within the Internet of Things."

ORION, an acronym for Open-Architecture, Resilient loT for Operational Networks, brings together a team of experts to integrate and test nearly any IoT system, leveraging a collection of tools and resources that evaluate the underlying and enabling technologies — such as  embedded systems, wireless communication technologies, cloud services, and user applications, among others.

Through this assessment, ORION can offer a spectrum of support options customized for each client — whether they be government, industrial, academic, or individual — that will help them thrive in the ever-changing world of IoT, the AFRL announcement said.

 IoT refers to the vast digital network that links modern technological devices and systems with the cloud as well as with each other. These devices can range from phones to power distribution systems to advanced military and civilian transport vehicles. Advances in IoT allow for advances in operational efficiency, quality of life, automation, and safety, officials said, however, as the number of IoT systems grows it has become increasingly difficult for many of the companies that work within the expanding IoT landscape to traverse it effectively and securely.

 "We recognized the urgent need for secure loT capabilities as the usage outpaces existing security standards,” said Anthony Macera, senior computer engineer/senior program manager at AFRL and the director of ORION. “ORION’s cyber assurance capabilities can help ensure the integrity and resilience of critical systems. Through customizable environments and cutting-edge tooling, we facilitate seamless testing and integration for both government and commercial organizations.”

Assured Information Security (AIS) serves as the technical linchpin of ORION to help make its aspirations a reality. Charles Green, CEO of AIS, said, “we’re privileged to serve as the prime technical leadership for ORION, in which each partner plays an indispensable role in revolutionizing cyber capabilities for customers. From flight lines and military vehicles to base infrastructure to personalized wearables, ORION leverages IoT data to forge a strategic edge like never before.”

Quanterion Solutions, a software and data analysis solutions provider headquartered in Utica, has played a crucial role in developing secure loT architecture. Alex MacDiarmid, vice president of Quanterion, said, "ORION is the result of a years-long undertaking to trailblaze cutting-edge loT solutions that solve a variety of DoD, industrial, and commercial challenges. We are thrilled to contribute our technical capabilities and collaborate with the ORION team to ensure a secure and innovative future for IoT."

 The headquarters of ORION, housed at the lnnovare Advancement Center on the Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome, is spearheaded by the Griffiss Institute, a STEM talent and technology accelerator. Heather Hage, president and CEO of Griffiss Institute, highlighted the commitment to advancing loT technology: "ORION is not just a collaboration; it's a commitment to advancing the landscape of loT technology. We're on a mission to secure modern applications, drive innovation, and open doors to loT opportunities for industry, government, and academia."

ORION is offering tours of its facility at the lnnovare Advancement Center. Interested parties can request tours by contacting ORION at A public ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the official launch is scheduled for Aug. 23.