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What Possibilities Can Virtual Reality Bring Beyond the Gaming World?

By John Breeden II // May 11, 2016

Visitors wearing virtual reality devices play games at a display booth for Qualcomm at the 2016 Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing, Thursday, April 28, 2016.
Visitors wearing virtual reality devices play games at a display booth for Qualcomm at the 2016 Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing, Thursday, April 28, 2016. // Andy Wong/AP

John Breeden II is an award-winning journalist and reviewer with over 20 years of experience covering technology and government. He is currently the CEO of the Tech Writers Bureau, a group that creates technological thought leadership content for organizations of all sizes. Twitter: @LabGuys.

Virtual reality is one of those technologies that has sat on the edge between reality and science fiction for decades, but is now finally going mainstream. And although this first modern generation of VR is beginning life mostly focused on games, don’t think that is where this technology will end up.

Being a huge nerd, my first real VR experiences go back a bit, to the Dactyl Nightmare arcade game. It was a stand-up unit, probably costing something like $100,000 at the time. You shot a really blocky-looking crossbow at an opponent in the neighboring pod, and also defended against an annoying pterodactyl (hence the name) that liked to swoop down from your blind side.

It was far from an immersive experience, and while that didn’t keep me from spending a small fortune mastering the game, its possible real-world applications were rather limiting.

In fact, VR mostly died for a while around that...

4 Steps to Consider When Creating a Cloud Strategy in 2016

By Adam Clater // May 6, 2016

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Adam Clater is a chief cloud architect in Red Hat’s public sector.

Ever since the National Institute of Standards and Technology published its definition of cloud computing, government agencies and industry have worked together to diligently embrace and deploy cloud infrastructure throughout government IT.

We have seen a combination of public as well as private clouds -- with some agencies emerging as providers to others within the federal government. We have also witnessed different agencies pooling cloud resources to create community clouds so they adhere to various regulatory compliance mandates while saving time, money and resources.

We can say with confidence that government has made strides in the adoption of cloud technologies. In fact, a recent report by Market Research Media projects federal cloud spending to surpass $10 billion by 2020.

The reasons for this growth are manifold. At its core, the cloud helps agencies improve the services they provide while lowering the cost of providing and maintaining the resulting applications and infrastructure. Agencies can do this while providing an environment for innovation and better engagement with end users. These results have become the rallying cry of CIOs throughout the government.

Expectations of end users and customers have evolved as...

How Multifactor Authentication Can Play a Role in the Cybersecurity National Action Plan

By Darren Guccione // May 2, 2016

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Darren Guccione is CEO of Keeper Security.

In February 2016, the White House announced the Cybersecurity National Action Plan, which aims to increase federal cybersecurity funding by more than a third to over $19 billion. One of the key components of the plan was a partnership with the National Cyber Security Alliance called the “National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign” that will focus on educating consumers and federal employees about how to protect themselves through multifactor authentication.

In an editorial in The Wall Street Journal, President Obama stated, “We’re launching a new national awareness campaign to raise awareness of cyber threats and encourage more Americans to move beyond passwords—adding an extra layer of security like a fingerprint or codes sent to your cell phone.”

A major part of this initiative will include changes to how the federal government will take steps to safeguard personal data in online transactions between citizens and the government through multifactor authentication and identity proofing to reduce reliance on Social Security numbers as an identifier of citizens.

Here are three significant ways the government can integrate multifactor authentication into their activities surrounding the Cybersecurity National Action Plan:

Integrate Multifactor Authentication Capabilities Into Hardware

The White House...

How the Digital Transformation Will Upend the Pentagon

By Nick Michaelides // April 29, 2016

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Nick Michaelides is a U.S. federal leader at Cisco.

Take a look around and you’ll see it affecting everything. What is it? Digitization.

Drones flying overhead, providing new perspectives and creating new video data. Smart vehicles parking themselves and autonomous cars cruising the highways without drivers. Wearables recording exercise and calories to improve activity level and health. Messaging and video conferencing tools connecting individuals and boardrooms instantly despite being oceans apart. Students in classrooms, coffee shops and living rooms sharing notes and working on assignments in a collaborative, online environment.

All of these are examples of the power of digitization: bringing people, processes, data and things together to create fully connected environments to improve and simplify information sharing, collaboration, operations and decision-making.

Generating these outcomes is important for meeting the needs of any business or government organization, but there are few places where it is more critical than in the battle space.

The Defense Department is one of the most complex and widespread organizations in the world, but in today’s battle space, embracing digitization helps pull together all aspects of defense. Through the latest technologies and solutions, digitization enables joint operations on the battlefield and facilitates real-time...

When it Comes to Engagement With Citizens, the Government Is Finally Paying Attention

By Teresa A. Weipert // April 22, 2016

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Teresa A. Weipert is senior vice president at Sutherland Government Solutions.

There is an old saying in retail marketing that “the customer is always right.”

Unfortunately, over the past few decades it has been hard for the public sector to follow that adage. The acceleration of technological changes in how the private sector delivers goods and services has raised expectations among citizens that government agencies can do the same – or even find ways to do better.

In order to meet these expectations, it has become clear that government agencies must adapt to a cultural shift.

They must adopt a new citizen engagement strategy involving technology, policy, programs, best practices, intra/interagency collaboration, customer-friendly interactions and mechanisms for feedback on service delivery.

When it comes to improving customer experience, the federal government is finally paying attention.

For instance, there is a provision included in the fiscal 2016 spending bill directing the Office of Management and Budget to report on agencies’ progress in developing customer service standards and incorporating them into performance plans.

This new provision states more needs to be done to improve the services the government provides, whether it is citizens trying to use HealthCare.gov, taxpayers calling the IRS...