Citizens don’t care where government workers are; they care about what government workers do. As mobile devices improve, they are giving agencies the ability to provide services from just about anywhere to almost anyone. The agencies that master this technology will be able to provide the services that citizens demand more quickly and efficiently.
Providing government services away from an agency’s offices is a theme that can be found throughout this issue. The technology is still young, but several agencies are making significant progress as they extend their reach.
The article “To BYOD or Not to BYOD” explores how agencies are responding to users’ demands to bring personal mobile devices onto agency networks. Different approaches bring different benefits. One approach that offers numerous advantages is a virtual desktop infrastructure. VDI can provide plenty of portability while bolstering security, because data resides on an agency server rather than a user’s device.
“Whether it’s an iPhone, Android phone, Kindle Fire or a thin client home computer, everything is identical,” says Robert Hughes, CIO of the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, whose agency has implemented a Citrix Systems VDI. “It works great.”
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“The Power to Inspire,” examines another remote government service, looking at how agencies such as the National Park Service and the Air Force are using video conferencing to extend their educational efforts without overextending their budgets.
The Cloud and Other Innovations
Also in this issue: “Privacy, Please,” reports on how most federal cloud computing efforts have made use of private clouds. In the FedTech Interview, Simon Szykman, CIO of the Commerce Department, discusses how the department is saving money by implementing a variety of innovative IT initiatives. In our "Smart Development" column, Stephen W. Warren, deputy CIO of the Veterans Affairs Department, explains how trying to take smaller, simpler steps has increased the success of VA’s IT projects.