Live at FOSE

FOSE highlights

Tuesday, March 7

9 a.m. Keynote by Robert Stevens, chairman, president and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corp.

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibit hall open

1 p.m. Keynote by Carol Bartz, president and CEO, Autodesk Inc.

Wednesday, March 8

9 a.m. Keynote by Scott McNealy, chairman, president and CEO, Sun Microsystems Inc.

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibit hall open

1 p.m. Keynote by John Chambers, president and CEO, Cisco Systems Inc.

Thursday, March 9

9 a.m. Keynote by D. Michael Abrashoff, vice-chairman, Agent Science Technology Inc.

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibit hall open

Security, wireless and collaboration take center stage at tech show

Issues such as security, communications and collaboration are nothing new to the agencies of the federal government. However, the ways federal workers are using technology to address those issues continues to advance at a fast clip.

Technology aimed at improving productivity, adhering to mandates and securing vital information will be on display at the 2006 FOSE conference and exhibition from March 7 through March 9. FOSE is produced by PostNewsweek Tech Media, publisher of Washington Technology.

Collaboration

Pentagon officials for years have used collaboration tools for war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The effort to improve communications for warfighters and first responders led to creation of the Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium, which aims to improve interoperability in a network-centric environment, said Jim Ganthier, vice president of Worldwide Government Solutions for Hewlett-Packard Co., one of the group's founders.

"The consortium is a rather large move to give soldiers, commanders and everybody else, free, untethered mobility," Ganthier said.

The group also aims to create a common operational picture for those working on a battlefield or responding to an emergency.

"As we like to say on the committee, every soldier becomes a sensor and a receiver," Ganthier said.

One of the biggest trends IT companies are seeing in government is the migration of collaboration from high-tech conference rooms to portable and desktop computers, said Kristin DeProspero of Polycom Inc., which produces collaborative applications.

"People want to have a nice, easy-to-use interface on their desktop that will allow them access to videoconferencing, data collaboration, voice over IP, or even just instant messaging," DeProspero said.

The trend is for everything to run on an IP network, and Polycom is producing solutions to meet that trend with Cisco Systems Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Avaya Inc.

Polycom, in Pleasanton, Calif., is working with Microsoft, for example, on its Office Communicator product. Communicator delivers the user interface on the desktop, but behind the scenes Polycom provides its bridge capability for the user to do multipoint calling.

Communication

Adoption of voice over IP is one of the biggest drivers of the move to unified networks for voice, data and video, technology companies say.

And the growth of VOIP is leading to a growth of applications.

Locate, from eTelemetry Inc., Annapolis, Md., automatically links IP addresses with a person's name, phone number, location and e-mail address, said Janice Roper-Graham, eTelemetry marketing vice president.

"We make sure all of our products have Extensible Markup Language Web services so that they can integrate with other products, and we've done some of that integration for clients," Roper-Graham said.

"Our clients love that from the standpoint of their help desk. In the past if the help desk wanted to use a remote desktop application like Microsoft's Remote Desktop, they'd have to walk the end user through to identify their IP address. With Locate, the user just clicks and he's in."

Wireless

The use of wireless technology also continues to increase for federal agencies.

Mobile computers and handhelds will grow more common as security for the devices increases, experts say.

Some of the biggest growth for wireless will be in specialized areas such as radio frequency identification, said Bill Hartwell of Holtsville, N.Y.-based Symbol Technologies Inc., a provider of tracking technology and sponsor of the RFID pavilion at FOSE.

DOD mandates requiring RFID use in its supply chain will be a major factor in the technology's adoption, Hartwell said.

"There's a still a fair amount of education that needs to go on as to the differences in what data can be captured and transferred wirelessly in an RFID environment as opposed to a traditional barcode environment," Hartwell said.

The issue government customers are concerned about is not so much what data is on RFID tags, but how that data is transferred wirelessly while remaining secure.

"That's where some level of encryption and the Federal Information Processing Standards certification comes in," he said.

Security and recovery

Concern for wireless and general security permeates every corner of government.

Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 is driving a lot of the security efforts in all agencies, and the Defense Information Systems Agency's Public Key Infrastructure is also a major contributor, said John Chaconas, senior marketing manager at Chantilly, Va.-based Blue Ridge Networks Inc., which provides secure communications solutions.

"DISA has put together a get-tough policy on DOD PKI and drawn a line in the sand for July that says all of your users must be able to authenticate to the network strongly by the end of July," Chaconas said. "From our security perspective it's a nice example of the government providing leadership to the rest of the world."

Staff Writer Doug Beizer can be reached at dbeizer@postnewsweektech.com.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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