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Justice Department Plans Major Office Tech Upgrade

Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building, Friday, June 19, 2015, in Washington.

Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building, Friday, June 19, 2015, in Washington. // Andrew Harnik/AP

The Justice Department is planning a major tech refresh.

Citing evolving technology and an increasingly mobile workforce, DOJ envisions an “office of the future,” which would upgrade much of the technology agency employees use.

DOJ is still in the market research phase, but a July 13 Request for Information provides several hints of the types of “best-of-breed technologies” that could end up on DOJ’s shopping list.

Among them:

  • There’s an app for that. Traditional apps will be virtualized, and some will become “applets,” so they can be sent to all devices, no matter the platform. 
  • Say goodbye to the office phone? The solicitation says most organizations will probably move toward supporting mobile devices -- connected throughout the office using Wi-Fi -- “as the primary office communications device.”
  • Unified communications. Your boss can always reach you. All methods of communication will be synced. For example, if someone sends an email, the recipient can respond immediately by phone. A single dashboard can launch an instant message, phone call or video conference. Leaving the office for lunch? A “follow me” feature would ring all of your devices in succession, until you are reached.
  • Internet of Things. This “will be a disruptive technology to many industries in the next several years,” the request states. By 2020, there could be as many as 26 billion physical devices connected to the Internet.
  • Wearables. “Wearables are an area that has yet to break into the enterprise space, but soon may, especially within the areas of law enforcement,” the solicitation notes. With newer models rapidly evolving, the capabilities could have near-term value within the enterprise market.” For example, tech based on near-field communications and Bluetooth can be used to authenticate users on mobile devices. Another use case? “Systems can already be set to lock automatically when a user with a smartwatch walks away, soon it will enable that customer to log in/out as well.”
  • Good feng shui? Desk spaces without cables. Wireless Gigabit standards are “quickly advancing,” the solicitation notes, “and will enable deployment of completely wireless desk spaces.” Think wireless monitors, keyboard and mice. “This will foster workspaces that are transient, a user can sit anywhere without having to reconnect docking stations and reconfigure cables. Another benefit? No more awkward presentation setup. “In addition to promoting flexibility in work locations, this capability will also help provide seamless integration for conference room presentations,” per the solicitation.

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