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Mobility in Government: The Rise of a Number of Platforms, Devices

Image: Aloysius Patrimonio

A feature in today’s Washington Post extols the virtue of government 2.0, an increasingly plugged-in, linked-in and connected federal government. And that technological vision is increasingly powered by a number of cutting-edge mobile platforms and devices.

“This is the federal government 2.0, where technology upgrades no longer come at a ‘Little House on the Prairie’ pace,” The Post piece reads, citing as evidence President Barack Obama’s willingness to jump from his beloved BlackBerry to an iPad.

The “flashy consumer products” — iPhones, iPads and Gmail — that have been making inroads in the private sector are now making their way to the government, The Post asserts.

Look no further than the General Services Administration’s high-profile move to Gmail, which received headlines at the time as a high-profile example of a federal cloud computing migration.

But that transition can also be summed up in the simpler idea of giving federal workers what they’re used.

“People have better access to information technology at their homes than they do at work, and that’s especially true in the public sector,” Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, told The Post. “If you look at the average school kid, he or she probably has better technology in his or her backpack than most of us do in government offices.”

Kundra has been among the top evangelists for mobility in the federal government, including an innovative — some say unrealistic — plan that would provide a subsidy for federal workers to purchase a mobile device, outfitted with the proper security settings, of their choosing.

The Post also notes that while everyday workers appreciate the touch of the familiar, for government decision- and policymakers, switching  to consumer technology and innovations, such as cloud, translate into cost-savings.

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