Man texting on smartphone against backdrop of legacy computer equipment

FCC tackles data mobility across 200 legacy systems

Mobility isn’t just about devices being mobile, it’s also about data being mobile across systems. That’s an especially demanding challenge at the Federal Communications Commission, which wants to ensure data mobility is an integral part of its upgrade and redesign of 207 separate systems, many of them more than 10 years old. 

“Trying to design a mobile approach in the context of a lot of other moving pieces … is a challenge,” said James Miller, associate CIO overseeing data, mobility and Web technology strategy at the FCC.

A mobile strategy has to incorporate data management and take into account where the data is processed, whether it is on premise, in the cloud or a hosted environment.  How data is managed in a data warehouse and how it is accessed, also must be considered.

Miller made his remarks at a recent discussion on mobile and app management at the Citrix Mobility 2014 conference in Wash., D.C.

Often legacy services such as telephone calls that are implemented on mobile devices, make the mobile solution even more complicated, Miller noted.  This can be solved on government-furnished equipment by turning off the caller ID with pre-dialing codes.

“But for somebody doing government work who wants to make calls using a BYOD approach, we have to have a way of managing that,” Miller said. When looking to implement specific features for mobile devices, developers have to consider what capabilities the host environment is offering, he added.

Miller noted that many organizations confronting these types of mobile access challenges use Representational State Transfer or REST, a “stateless” architecture that runs over HTTP. REST is a way to create, update or delete information on a server using simple HTTP calls.

Often used in mobile applications, social networking Web sites and mashup tools, REST APIs limit the number of interactions between a client and services by assigning resources their own unique universal resource indicators.

“We see a lot of value with APIs and being able to target new devices and deploy applications quickly,” Miller said. 

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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