Info to the GILS: After two years of hype and hoopla, the Clinton administration's strategy for putting government information online has officially arrived. Called the Government Information Locator service, or GILS, the service will provide everything from White House speeches to news of the latest inventions from government labs. Plans are to create links to GILS at public libraries and through the White House's "Welcome to the White House" server as well as the Commerce Department's FedWorld online service. But will this service signal democracy's rebirth, or is it just faux populism -- a feel-good download here and there and little else?
PCS notes: Speaking of hype and hoopla, the market research industry is in hyperdrive churning out reports on the emerging Personal Communications Services industry. BIS Strategic Decisions, perhaps the greatest prognosticator/consultant, estimates 80 percent of the US adult population is "interested in wireless communication coverage." The firm has liberally interpreted that "interest" -- itself based on a relatively small statistical sampling -- to mean "150 million US individuals want wireless communications."
Meanwhile, the supposedly impoverished military is waiting for $116 million worth of notebook computers, peripherals and software, as embodied in two new Army supply contracts awarded to International Data Products, Gaithersburg, Md. Despite imploding weapons systems budgets, the military now represents the single- largest computer customer in the world.
Hughes' Directness: Sports junkies and telecom analysts should note that Hughes venture in direct satellite TV broadcasting, known as DirectTV, is gaining major mindshare -- not to mention key contracts. Subscribers will be able to choose from more than 400 NBA games, to be broadcasted over the system this season -- a boon to sports junkies considering the total absence of any other sport. On the info-security front: A coalition of eight companies has banded together to provide secure e-mail for riders on the infohypeway. The companies -- Sprint, Harris Corp., I-Net, Robbins-Gioia, Van Dyke Associates, Microsoft and EDS -- unveiled last week a service called Global Messenger, a collection of products and services targeted to vertical markets such as government and healthcare. Prospective users can test-mail Global Messenger at Harris' headquarters in Melbourne, Fla.