Campus IT departments might be considered the vanguard of enterprise computing. Each new year brings students with more devices that need to connect to a network already supporting university administration, faculty, researchers and a heavy Netflix habit.
As CTOs look for new products, tools, applications and equipment in 2013, here are six trends to watch, according to higher-ed IT leaders interviewed by Campus Technology.
1. Big data beyond the basics. Big data will help institutions build model student profiles that can be used to target for admission those students most likely to be successful.
2. Faster course corrections. Universities will use big data to assess course feedback and quickly make curricula changes.
3. Pressure from BYOD. As students bring an ever increasing number and variety of wireless devices to campus, Wi-Fi networks, tools and support will quickly evolve to meet increased demand.
4. Platform-independent computing gains ground. IT departments will soon support all devices and platforms. Look for virtual desktop environments will allow students run any software, regardless of location or device.
5. Mobile apps are a go. Moving away from broadcast publishing, more schools will develop mobile apps that let users access only the information they need.
6. Growth of educational social media. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ will be integrated into the curriculum for the real-time, real-world collaboration they enable.
Posted on Jan 18, 2013 at 9:39 AM0 comments
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is seeking products and expertise to support and demonstrate secure platforms for the exchange of electronic health information.
The notice in the Federal Register marks the initial step for the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence in the Secure Exchange of Electronic Health Information project. The NCCoE is a public/private collaboration for accelerating the widespread adoption of integrated cybersecurity tools and technologies.
The goal of the demonstration project is to provide a secure, usable and comprehensive security platform that would help health care providers exchange electronic health information.
The secure exchange of health information across devices and networks can be especially challenging for smaller health care providers, NIST said in its announcement. A great number of small, medium and large health care providers may not have the sufficient security infrastructure or expertise to respond to multiple client devices and the variety of health data exchange standards, NIST said.
Following successful demonstrations, NIST will publish a description of the security platform so that other organizations can develop products to meet the program's objectives.
Posted on Jan 16, 2013 at 9:39 AM0 comments
The Army is on the look-out for software tools that could help train soldiers to operate a number of its most powerful combat vehicles, including the Abrams and Bradley tanks and its Wolverine and Stryker armored vehicles.
In a “market investigation survey” issued this month, the Army said it wanted developers to build training software libraries that could replicate the behavior of the vehicles in the real world as well as provide common training capabilities across all vehicle-specific training systems.
The Army wants to two classes of software: a common software library (CSL), which replicates the operations of a specific vehicle, and a common embedded training system (CETS), a library of various training components such as instructor operations, scoring and after-action reviews.
CET systems would aim to augment rather than replace existing stand-alone training systems or capabilities and provide the ability “to train anywhere at any time, at home station or while deployed,” the Army notice said.
Before the use of common software libraries, training systems replicated the operations of a single vehicle. But keeping current with the vehicles’ software updates was hard to maintain and replicating the precise behavior was nearly impossible, according to the Army.
Instead, the Army prefers working with a single developer that has both a thorough grounding of the combat vehicles and training systems that tap the software libraries. The plan is for a common approach across all training systems and “assures that the warfighters are training on systems that reflect current fielded vehicle systems behavior,” according to the notice.
Posted on Jan 16, 2013 at 9:39 AM0 comments
The Veterans Affairs Department is moving aggressively toward full deployment of paperless processing of veterans’ disability claims at all regional benefits processing offices this year.
As of December 2012, 18 of the VA’s 56 regional offices were on the new system and had begun to process compensation claims in digital format. The remaining 38 offices are expected to be online this year, the VA said in a release.
The new electronic claims processing system is called the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), a “solution that will transform how VA eliminates the backlog in 2015,” the announcement said.
Prompt processing of veterans’ claims has been a long-standing problem at the agency, which has had to deal with the after-effects of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to new claims from veterans of the Vietnam War era that followed the agency's decision to recognize medical conditions related to Agent Orange.
“We recognize that too many veterans are waiting too long to get the benefits they have earned, and that is unacceptable. This is a decades-old problem, and we are implementing a robust plan to address it,” said Allison A. Hickey, undersecretary for benefits.
VBMS was pilot-tested at select regional offices between 2010 and 2012, with improvements and greater functionality added to system software releases throughout the testing period. In pilot programs, the new system cut the time to process claims nearly in half.
VA claims processors can access online rules-based calculators and drop-down menus to enhance standardization and accuracy of decisions, for both electronic claims and those received in paper form and uploaded into VBMS.
Processors also will use VBMS to generate letters to veterans concerning their claim status and send requests to private physicians for medical records needed to evaluate claims.
The most recent version of VBMS software allows VA claims representatives to:
- Establish veterans’ claims entirely in a digital environment as “e-folders.”
- Receive, store and view veterans’ submitted claim documents electronically.
- Identify and track the evidence VA needs from beneficiaries and other outside sources.
- Quickly direct claims electronically among regional offices to better match VA’s workload with available workforce capacity.
“For our employees, VBMS will be a more user-friendly system that offers better access to decision-level information, rules-based calculators, and automated tools that help them process claims more consistently,” Hickey said.
When VBMS is combined with VA’s other transformation initiatives — including improved claims-rater training, cross-functional claims handling teams and prioritized lanes to speed processing based on type of claim — VA said it will be positioned to meet its goal of processing veterans’ claims in 125 days or less, at 98 percent accuracy, by the end of 2015.
Posted on Jan 15, 2013 at 9:39 AM0 comments
As the use of IPv6 broadens, mobile users should see gains in performance, according to members of a panel at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
According to a ComputerWorld article on the discussion, panel members said that one source of improved performance would be that each IPv6-connected device — be it smart phone, phone, router, security camera or office peripheral — can communicate directly to each other over the Internet.
Service providers using IPv4, by contrast, use a process called Network Address Translation that "assigns true, unique Internet addresses to subscribers' devices only temporarily," ComputerWorld reported. The administrative overhead of sending packets back and forth to keep the connection alive slows performance and consumes power.
In addition, IPv6's massive pool of addresses allow an IP address to stay with the mobile device, eliminating the administrative traffic and dropped service when a user travels from one cell to another.
Although the Office of Management and Budget mandated that agencies enable the new protocols on public-facing services such as websites by Sept. 30, 2012, adoption has been slow.
Posted on Jan 14, 2013 at 9:39 AM0 comments