Last week’s Consumer Electronics Show was crammed with gadgets from pocket-sized smart phones to 72-inch 3-D television displays. Lots of federal managers plied the show’s miles of exhibits. That’s because many of the products have promise for government, too. One observer noticing the bridge between consumer and enterprise technology was Theresa Bozelli. She’s the vice president and managing director of Sapient Government Services. Bozelli joined The Federal Drive and mentioned the theme of connectivity especially in the consumer space at the convention.
“In the government side, that’s great but we also have to put the security component on top of that. I’ve found that the things that struck me most are about connection and control. The other thing that we’ve seen on the control side around biometrics, robotics, controlling things from afar. So I think there are some really good positives on that line.”
Bozelli noted that while it’s easy to emphasize the positive aspects of the technologies, there can be negative sides as well.
“For example social sensing, the ability to monitor where people are,” Bozelli said. “That’s great for detecting terrorist activity but it can also be used for terrorist recruitment. So we have this conundrum between these technologies providing both good aspects for government and also some very negative aspects.”
One of the agencies that Bozelli said is embracing the new technology is the Defense Department. She noted that one of the Defense Department presenters explained that one of the reasons people come to the Army is because they are given an iPhone or Android phone.
“They’re really using it as a way to connect the soldier on the battlefield in some cases with their family,” Bozelli said. “So (they have) gone out and they have created an application that secures the mobile device. When the app is enabled, they do a remote control. It enforces the rules of storage, it enforces the rules of auto access, it turns off the GPS, it auto-enables encryption, and they have a secure web browser. They are able to take a device that we use on a day to day basis and with a single accredited app, they are able to make it that an Army secured device for use on a day to day basis.
Bozelli said the Army was able to combine both the connectivity that the solider wants, with the security that the military needs.
“When the app is not in a secure mode, then the solider will continue to have accessibility to their normal family life. So the Army recognizes this and they are very proactive about getting that capability into the soldier’s hands and still maintaining what we need for our secure military operations.”
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-9 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, DC region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.