While government might seem behind the times as Americans are already accessing massive amounts of data through their cell phones, smart phones and other Internet-connected devices, the “Federal Executive Insights on Mobility in Government”opening panel for FOSE 2011’s Enabling the Mobile Government Workforce session track showcased how agency officials view their data and what they’re doing to get that data out to you.
NSA’s Troy Lange, speaking on a panel at FOSE, Federal Executive Insights on Mobility in Government.
This session gave FOSE 2011 attendees a new look inside the mobilization efforts of govenment. Here are a few key points that were made:
- Mark Day, Chief Technology Officer at Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), said that data about the housing market is important to get out to the public. Mobile applications, for example, can allow people to help flooding victims find rental properties. On the whole, mobile applications / platforms are available. The real challenge is getting the data to those applications. HUD, said Day, wants to be device agnostic. The challenge is presenting data that people can use. Day stressed the need to partner more with the private sector to make use of existing platforms to get data out there.
- Tim Schmidt, Chief Technology Officer at Department of Transportation (DOT), echoed what Day said about the need to get the data out there. He said that the focus is on making content more rational so it can reach multiple devices. DOT wants to get applications and data to the market quickly. Schmidt also discussed new mobile technology, like the IntelliDrive program designed to enable cars to communicate, so drivers can know where all cars are on the road. Mobile has great potential to improve road safety
- Gloria Richmond, Air Traffic Control Communications Administrative Telecommunications Manager at Federal Aviation Administration, talked about the FAA’s move to a VOIP (voice over IP) structure, which gives their workforce more mobility. She said that mobilizing those who work on keeping the flying public safe by getting them “into the field” is a significant step forward.
- While all the panelists talked about the availability of technology and the need to get data and information out and available to the public, each stressed the need for security.
- Troy Lange, Mission Manager for Mobility at the National Security Agency, talked about how good mobile technology can be used for malevolent purposes. For example, how do you stop rouge transmissions that interfere with a system like IntelliDrive? How do you prevent terrorists or other hostile individuals from stealing government assets (mobile devices) and being able to use them? At the end of the day, Lange said that “we have to come up with a way to make things secure and balance that with the user experience.”
In terms of mobility in government, it is clear that the heads of government agencies want to get make their data available for public consumption and to work more closely with the private sector. The government wants to get information to market faster, and not be in the business of developing new technology platforms.
Perhaps the greatest challenge, however, rests on the government’s desire to offer a positive user experience, while maintaining that delicate balance with security.