Aug 16 2023
Digital Workspace

Technology Provides Training and Data to Citizens and Federal Workers

Dashboards, AR/VR and website design help information move freely through the federal system.

What the public sees when they use government services: updates on their packages’ travels through the mail system, the latest weather alerts, first responders jumping into hazardous situations without hesitation.

What the public doesn’t see: the behind-the-scenes work that federal IT specialists put in to make sure those services operate without hesitation, and the imagination that they use to come up with the solutions when the environment in which they’re working is complicated.

Federal agencies are relying on more and more advanced technologies to keep the business of government operating smoothly — especially in the online environment, where citizens trained by one-click shopping buttons expect instantaneous results. Agencies are also finding that those technologies can solve their own internal problems as well.

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Agencies Are Leaning Into New Tech

In our feature “Augmented Reality Takes Agencies to Unexpected Places,” we take a look at the expanding use of augmented and virtual reality tools in the federal government. Many agencies are beginning to rely on them for training, particularly in circumstances where a team consists of members not based in the same location, or where the situation they’re training for is dangerous.

Aboard the International Space Station, for example, astronauts interacted with a hologram of a flight surgeon on the ground in real time, testing their ability to communicate privately with people hundreds of miles away on Earth. And the Occupational Safety and Health Administration uses AR to safely train workers who must investigate hazardous construction sites.

When an agency needs to track its results and display them in an easily accessible format, it often turns to a data dashboard. Take the extremely simple example of the Office of Personnel Management’s dashboard, discussed “FEMA Drives Better Decision-Making for Disaster Planning and Relief with Interactive Dashboard.” Agency leaders use it to spot trends in worker attrition and retirement, enabling them to make choices about how they staff in the future.

But when one of those websites becomes popular, whether because of a newsworthy event or the need to download time-sensitive forms, agencies must ensure that they stay up and running with no hiccups. Stressed parents downloading FAFSA forms don’t want to see that “Error 503 Service Unavailable” message when paying for that dream school is on the line.

The aptly named “How Federal Agencies Can Keep Websites Running Smoothly,” explains how agencies tailor their websites to stay operational when hundreds, thousands or even millions of visitors land on their pages at once — as the National Weather Service experiences during hurricanes, blizzards and other massive weather events.

The tools these agencies use to accomplish these missions are less important, however, than the flexibility they provide the agencies in complex and high-demand tasks. As the federal government works to become even more responsive to a nation’s needs — as well as those of its own employees —technology provides them with a resilience needed in these ever-changing times.

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