Agencies will tap mobile devices to boost workforce productivity, delight citizens and drive greater overall mission success.
In the final weeks of 2017, the Managing Government Technology Act was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2018. This legislative development, along with the rapid introduction of new mobile and internet of things devices and virtual reality technological advances over the last year, is breathing new life into a range of government technology transformation and digitization efforts.
Federal IT leaders are reacting by re-evaluating their 2018 priorities and allocating funds away from outdated, complex and costly legacy systems and toward modernization projects that can fundamentally change how government does business. The trends and technologies that will top agendas will be those that enable agencies to boost workforce productivity, delight citizens and drive greater overall mission success. As I gaze into my crystal ball, here are a few key areas to watch in particular:
Advanced Mobile Apps Will Super-Charge Productivity
Today's smartphones have more computing power than NASA when astronauts first set foot on the moon. Despite significant device and network advancements, many agencies are still stuck defining their mobile strategies as the ability to deliver email and calendars to employees. In 2018, we'll see a major shift toward using mobile for a range of mission-critical productivity apps. Thanks to smartphones that can deliver a desktop-like experience and the availability of advanced security solutions that can protect sensitive data on the go, we'll begin to see workforce productivity increase through mobility at the mission edge in use cases like in-field data collection, law enforcement, logistics management and more.
IoT Will Compound Endpoint Proliferation and Security Challenges
The ecosystem of internet-connected devices and sensors—wearables, unmanned vehicles and more—will open up more surface area than ever before to potential threat. Efforts by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017 are just the start of what's the come in terms of defining what the IoT looks like and how it should be secured. As high-profile hacks continue to dominate headlines, federal leaders will feel rising pressure in 2018 to deploy mobile endpoint security solutions encompassing capabilities such as malware protection, biometrics, encryption and containerization, especially as they wade deeper into uncharted IoT territory.
A Modern Immersive Training Technology Ecosystem Will Emerge
Live training simulations are costly, complex and quickly outdated when it comes to teaching troops the latest operational procedures that could save their lives. That is why Defense Department is spending approximately $14 billion or more per year on "synthetic" digital training. Fueled by these investments and advancements in 5G and data science, 2018 will be the year when the mobile virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed-reality technology ecosystem becomes untethered and unleashed to help deliver ultra-realistic immersive experiences to surgeons, technicians, warfighters and others and help them truly "train like they fight."
Mobile Technologies Will Help Attract Younger Talent
Millennials comprise only about 16.9 percent of the workforce percent of agency employees according to Office of Personnel Management data. Outdated or ineffective technology is a common reason why younger workers leave or turn down a job. Agencies they must adapt their technology and productivity tools to the wants and needs of these digitally native workers if they hope to attract and retain talent. In 2018, federal IT leaders will deploy mobile-first strategies that will start to infiltrate agencies and help close the pervasive millennial talent gap.
Government technology transformation and digitization efforts will advance at a rapid rate this year and mobility will play a transformative role across the board—from enhancing workforce productivity to securing the government's most valuable data assets. Like past years, 2018 will also continue to be a delicate balance act between managing budget pressures from Congress and the White House and meeting mission needs. In order to succeed, agency leaders will need to stay on their toes and keep tabs on the technology, culture and policy shifts that will shape how they use technology to meet mission needs.
Chris Balcik is the vice president of federal government sales for Samsung.