The latest on FirstNet and its future opportunities

By Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

The new year is upon us and with that comes a flurry of activity for FirstNet now that all 50 states and territories have opted into the network. If you haven’t been following FirstNet let me catch you up.

To start, FirstNet will be the nationwide first responder interoperable broadband network. The FirstNet Authority and its partner AT&T (who was awarded the build-out contract) will be building out and/or upgrading the broadband infrastructure across all 50 states and territories to ensure that in the event of an emergency, first responders can communicate and respond effectively.

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How to help government with its biggest cloud hurdles

cloud, IT, governmentBy Kevin Shaker, senior analyst

Cloud infrastructure is growing rapidly in the public sector, with a compound growth rate exceeding 29 percent. This is a trend that will continue as government accelerates its breadth of technological viability to match the innovative private sector.

While most agencies’ IT leaders have said cloud architecture is vital to mission success, there are difficulties in determining how this technology should be managed and which applications can be migrated and to which cloud environments.

We delved into this issue at immixGroup’s recent Government IT Sales Summit where industry and federal leaders discussed the challenges and advantages of federal cloud migration and routes to accelerate agency transformation.

Here are some of the concerns and recommendations:

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3 tech opportunities in health and human services

SLED, ITBy Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

Connecting the dots between the news and opportunity can be a tricky endeavor, but those headlines can often translate into an opportunity if you know where to look.

We took a close look at state and local opportunities in the IT sector during immixGroup’s recent Government IT Sales Summit. The session on Selling to SLED—Updates and Innovations included insight from Robert Mancini, chief information officer for Prince William County, Va., and Garrett Histed, senior director of State, Local and Education at VMware.

Below are three areas where technology can have a major impact on the health and human services market:

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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.

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What you should know about the future of machines

machine learning, artificial intelligenceBy Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

2017 saw machine learning become the de-facto in-vogue technology, whether the conversation was about data, cybersecurity or even traditional business systems.

In December, Google’s AlphaZero chess engine, utilizing Google’s DeepMind AI, crushed the incumbent chess engine champion, Stockfish. Google’s DeepMind relies heavily on machine learning – the AlphaZero chess engine did not start with any human knowledge, yet was able to learn how to beat Stockfish in 400 hours through machine learning. It’s a clear victory for machine learning – but one that’s easy to simulate. This is a much easier use case than identifying noise from cyber threats or prioritizing and cleaning multiple forms of data.

At immixGroup’s Government IT Sales Summit, we hosted a discussion on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning with Ron Gula, president and co-founder of Gula Tech Adventures and former CEO and co-founder of Tenable Networks, Dr. William Vanderlinde, chief scientist at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) and Rich Friedrich, senior director of cyber security analytics at Micro Focus Government Solutions.

Here are key takeaways to keep in mind when you discuss machine learning and AI with your government customers:

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3 marketing tips for selling to government in 2018

By Rita Walston, senior director, marketing programs

Marketing to the federal buyer is all about knowing the right timing, methods and rules. The key to this is knowing where each opportunity is in the procurement cycle, who the primary influencers are in each phase and what information is most useful to each group.

At this year’s Government IT Sales Summit, we gathered former top-level federal IT decision-makers to give us answers. During a session moderated by Lou Anne Brossman, founder and president of the Government Marketing University, panelists shed light on how to connect with government agency officials; how to plan and execute marketing campaigns when budgets are tight; how federal buyers consume marketing information before, during and after procurement; and how continuing resolutions, the “new norm” in Washington, impact the federal IT community.

Here are just a few of the tips gleaned from the discussion. To hear more from this session, listen to the on-demand recording:

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Tracking government “openness” changes in contracting

By Jenni Taylor, manager, government programs and contracts

Federal contracting officers are moving towards more openness in procurement, which is a step forward in the cumbersome federal procurement process, according to Michael Fischetti, executive director of the National Contract Management Association.

Fischetti’s remarks came during a panel discussion at our recent Government IT Sales Summit, titled “Without a Contract, There Is No Deal: Updates on Contracts and Procurement.”

Contracting problems occur in government because contract professionals “are at the end of a long chain” of requirements definitions, budget analysis, time, coordination and approvals that Fischetti says often have nothing to do with requirements themselves. Despite that long process, Fischetti added that the federal procurement generally works free of political intervention.

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