Why government needs help getting smarter at the edge

Tom O'Keefeinternet of things, intelligent edgeBy Tom O’Keefe, consultant

One of the major emerging topics in government is how to best analyze data gathered from the ever-increasing amount of sensors at or near the edge, rather than bringing it back to large data centers where the majority of compute lives. There are many questions around how the public sector starts to use this data and whether they can make informed decisions on the ground.

immixGroup hosted a panel discussion on this very topic at the recent Government IT Sales Summit. Panelists, including Ian Doyle, executive security advisor for IBM’s Security Business Unit, and Ashish Parikh, vice president of IoT platforms at Arrow Electronics, discussed the evolution and transformation of IT at the edge.

Part of the transformation comes from the transition from “dumb” sensors to “smart” ones. A smart sensor doesn’t track merely a single data point as a dumb sensor would, but is able to observe multiple variables and respond to changes in its environment. For government purposes, this becomes incredibly useful in securing the border, for example, or on aircraft to suggest when preventative maintenance is necessary before it impacts operations.

Naturally, this involves a lot of different technologies, which means lots of opportunities for technology vendors to sell into the government. Make sure to weave the story you’re telling into the larger narrative of the internet of things (IoT), of which the intelligent edge is one of the most exciting pieces. Also, keep in mind that much of the intelligent edge thrives in and on the cloud, so make sure your solutions meet the latest cloud security standards for the government.

One of the key points to keep in mind when approaching government to sell these types of solutions is who your audience actually is. I know the typical technology approach is to target the chief information officer and IT shops. But for these and other IoT type plays, your first stop should be with the mission owners. They’re the groups needing to analyze and better interpret the data. Analyzing information at the edge is most beneficial for the boots-on-the-ground, so even though IT might do system implementation, understand that mission budget could be used to procure your solution.

Watch the full session on the Intelligent Edge: Evolving the Cloud and the User Experience and catch other sessions from the Government IT Sales Summit.

To get more insight into public sector IT trends, subscribe to the Government Sales Insider blog.

About Tomas O'Keefe
Tom O'Keefe has over 7 years of market research experience as an Analyst and Consultant in the federal space. He also earned an MA in Political Science from George Mason University. He has covered both civilian and defense agencies and has presented to clients ranging from junior-level associates to executives from some of the largest Systems Integrators and contractors in the federal marketplace.

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