Francis, tell us about your product development role. Where did you work previously, and what drew you to this company?
I always enjoy a good David versus Goliath challenge and have had the privilege over the last 25 years to work with some amazing companies and people to deliver on their dreams and ideas.
What drew me to the DATAPILOT team was Steve, the company’s President. I’m working for a great 20-year Microsoft Managed Partner, managing and developing leading edge .NET, Azure and IoT applications, and I was invited to a technology round table that Steve belonged to, and we hit it off right away.
Steve and I have similar beliefs and over the next few days we talked more about his vision, the culture he wanted to build, the awesome team, how we could help law enforcement and our communities, and more importantly the challenges we would face with the company, the aggressive timeline of taking DP10 from concept / prototype to production, and the forensic industry in general.
There have been so many highs this year, leading and developing the engineering and support teams has been awesome, and I’m a hands-on person whether it’s the business analysis work, UIUX, or architecting with the team.
I have found working face-to-face with law enforcement agencies and the amazing individuals within them has been fantastic, and hearing their unique needs and how we can make DP10 better for each of them has been so rewarding.
What feature of DATAPILOT 10 is most exciting to you, and why?
Acquire: this powerful application has evolved so much since we released DP10 a year ago and we continue to innovate and make DP10 as easy to use with each monthly release. In fact, sometimes we may push a release mid-month if there is a new Android or Apple OS release.
Simply, acquisition is what DP10 is all about, being able to get and view data from target devices using our Data app with Fast, Flex, Extract Only or a Complete, or Capture apps Linked Screen and Optical capture.
And to make sure that the evidence data we collect is available in multiple formats and compatible with the leading Lab tools.
We started with Android and Apple operating system devices, and with our upcoming extension we are now viewing and copying data via multi-function SD and other types of cards, external USB devices and even hard drives from drones, dashcams, cars, cameras, and so much more.
What are some of the most creative or unexpected uses for DATAPILOT 10 that you’ve heard about?
Creative and unexpected use, awesome question. OK, here is one I hope qualifies.
DP10 has some very powerful acquisition apps, one of these is Linked Screen Capture, which displays whatever is on the target device’s screen onto DP10, at which time the user can snap an image of the target device screen, which is great for cloud-based apps, like messenger and nefarious apps. Linked Screen even has an Auto-Scroll with Capture feature; oh, that would’ve been good for the previous question.
So, picture this, the inspector is sitting at a table using Linked Screen and scrolling through a cloud-based messenger app on the target device, and the suspect is sitting indifferent nearby, though within earshot of the inspector.
And after scrolling and finding what he needs the inspector turns the capture shutter sound on DP10, and starts snapping pictures of the chat and attached pictures, imagine, a loud shutter click, click, click, click, click… After a few minutes of shutter sound clicks and glances back and forth from the inspector, the suspect wasn’t so indifferent anymore.
We just started posting some of the great success stories told by the agencies and agents themselves on datapilot.com.
There are a lot of field forensics tools on the market. How is this one different?
Quite right, there have been a lot of field forensic tools, and having managed and set up small to large IT departments in a prior life, two differentiators that come to mind are initial cost of purchase, implementation and ongoing maintenance.
There seem to be two types of existing tools: those based on the older lab version and so they require significant training and configuration, and then investment and risk in hardware for deployment; or their relatively “Lite” siblings in their lighter self-contained offering and follow-up support.
DP10 is different right out of the box and is purpose-built to be affordable and continue to deliver great value over time. With its rugged kiosk-like implementation, it is designed for ease of use without any training and virtually no IT admin and maintenance needed, and with our monthly releases and updates DP10 continues to evolve with functionality to address the ever-changing needs of field forensics.
Since releasing DATAPILOT 10, how has it been received in the market? What kind of feedback are you getting?
DP10 has been well received. As you probably know, we initially had to overcome some recent company history, and once you have a DP10 in hand or see a demonstration you quickly realize this is not your old Susteen.
DP10 feedback has been awesome and while we do appreciate the kudos and testimonials, it’s so rewarding, what I truly value the most are the people using it first hand and the feedback of what we can do better. That to me is where the rubber meets the road, and so rewarding to hear a need and then be able to bring that to fruition in the next release.
What was important about a standalone hardware device versus, say, SecureView on a field laptop?
Lowering agency and company costs. That’s the first thought that always comes to mind when I am asked this question. First you have all the associated costs with supporting and administering a dedicated laptop / desktop, let alone maintaining a field device that is rugged and power hungry.
Second is the training costs, and that then leads to a limited number of special users. And don’t get me wrong, that works for the labs and their specific tasks, not so much for the agent in the field who needs to view and gather now and take the evidence back to the lab expert.
DP10 is a handheld rugged forensic kiosk, purpose built to be affordable, easy to use and virtually no IT administration and maintenance required.
And please don’t think for a second that DP10 is a “Lite” version of SecureView. ????
In which use cases has DATAPILOT 10 been most successful? Where would you like to see it have more uptake?
The men and women in the field, that is where we are seeing DP10 have a real impact, with viewing and recording data in real-time, and then getting that and full data extractions quickly and taking that back to the lab and used with their lab tools for processing and court. Simply awesome.
Specifically, Linked Screen Capture is having a huge impact, by getting evidence from virtually any mobile app on the device, messenger, nefarious applications, and cloud-based data applications.
What’s next for DATAPILOT 10 in 2020?
Extensions, extensions, extensions. For us DP10 is the facilitator and so the more we can connect, access, view and extract with DP10 the more we can help the people who are in the field.
Helping the people in the field view and gather compatible evidence quickly and easily in turn helps the lab experts do what they do best and enjoy the most, and that’s the analysis, evaluation and reporting.
In the end, it’s all about helping the different law enforcement teams do what they do best, and DP10 helps each of the different groups in its own purpose-built way.
This article originally appeared on Forensic Focus