Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


AT&T, IBM to help cities build out Internet of Things

AT&T and IBM have joined forces to combine their analytic, cloud and security technologies to leverage big data analysis in the emerging network of machines and other systems known as the Internet of Things.

The new partnership will initially focus on creating applications for city governments and midsize utilities – organizations that intend to analyze vast quantities of data flowing through mass transit vehicles, utility meters and video cameras.

In using their joint technical assets, the companies aim to help city planners evaluate patterns and trends to improve urban planning and help utilities better manage their equipment to reduce costs. The two companies will work together to build solutions at the AT&T M2M Foundry in Plano, Texas, and at IBM Global Solution Centers around the world.

“We share a vision that the ‘Internet of Things’ will help [cities and companies] rely on their remote assets and connected devices to take their business to the next level,” said Chris Hill, senior vice president, AT&T Advanced Solutions.

For example, connected cities tracking service disruptions would be able to better allocate resources. Movements of people can be analyzed to improve traffic management and parking capacity, as well as the location and number of first-responder units. Social media updates could be monitored from citizens reporting bad weather or traffic tie-ups so the city can take best course of action.

“Smarter cities, cars, homes, machines and consumer devices will drive the growth of the Internet of Things along with the infrastructure that goes with them, [advancing] data gathering, predictive analytics and automation,” said Rick Qualman, vice president of strategy and business development for IBM.

The companies bring complementary technical strengths to the partnership, they noted.

AT&T offers its M2M global network and Global Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) to help connect devices to a single global network. These technologies are managed through AT&T’s M2M platforms to securely collect, organize, store and send the data to applications.

IBM brings its Intelligent Operations Center as well as its advanced analytics capabilities and other tools that work IBM’s MobileFirst solutions.  MobileFirst provides management, security and analytics to help organizations  capitalize on the increasing role of mobile devices in the Internet of Things.

According to industry analyst firm IDC, the installed base for the Internet of Things will grow to approximately 212 billion devices by 2020, a number that includes 30 billion connected devices. IDC sees this growth driven largely by intelligent systems that will be installed and collecting data — across both consumer and enterprise applications.

Posted on Feb 24, 2014 at 10:21 AM0 comments


Report: Best practices for big data projects

Report: Realizing the Promise of Big Data, from the IBM Center for the Business of Government

Description: The 44-page report begins with a history of big data, cites differences between big data in the public and private sectors and includes some big data use cases in federal as well as state and local government.

Drawing on interviews with chief information officers from every level of government, it presents big data implementation steps, or best practices, grouped by the phases of a big data project: planning, execution and implementation. 

The major insights from the CIOs focus on big data lifecycle questions related to design, execution, implementation, and post-implementation. Other findings are classified by the key area they are focused on — organization, personnel, business processes, technology and external environment.

Key points: Among the 10 findings:

CIOs succeed in big data projects by first tackling simple, yet visible, problems for the agency.  Building maps of data elements is a valuable tool to uncover intricacies such as data dependencies, interactions among data elements and organizational factors. They also also help teams visualize the data space and identify areas for intervention.

A skilled task force is necessary to oversee a big data project. A staff with expertise in the technology, business and policy aspects of the project can help prevent any major surprises and ensure everything goes as planned.

The development of key performance indicators is critical to big data projects. Both process and outcome measures are essential to the project’s success. Performance measures are centered on improving efficiency, such as lowering the cost of operations. Outcome measures focus on how the customers perceive the service being delivered.

Bottom line: With the rise of big data in recent years, the data sets of government agencies have become critical resources. It is essential that CIOs and public sector IT managers take the proper steps to ensure successful big data projects.

Posted on Feb 21, 2014 at 11:13 AM0 comments


Survey: Agencies save with automation technology

Survey: Automation in Public Sector IT Systems from SolarWinds.

Key points: A survey of 162 public-sector IT workers found that 84 percent believe automation has somewhat or significantly saved time and money for their teams, while 67 percent have seen some degree of increased productivity from their teams.

Network configuration management tools were the most beneficial in terms of time money saved according to 58.3 percent of respondents. Help desk automation came in second at 41.7 percent, followed by IP address management at 38.8 percent and app/server provisioning and configuration management at 36.6 percent.

The successful rollout of automation technology, however, has been a challenge for a number of agencies. More than half (53.6 percent) of the survey respondents have cited finding a budget to pay for the right tool as the major challenge. This is in addition to the 28.8 percent who said they wished they had the time and budget available for training.

Other challenges to a successful rollout included integrating new tools with other automation (49.3 percent), training (42 percent) and getting management support (39.9 percent).

The survey also found that more than half of the respondents have not seen their IT teams change in size as a result of investments in automation, despite the promise they have shown. More than half (53.3 percent) have not had their teams change in size, while only 6.5 percent said their teams are smaller as a result of these investments.

Bottom line: Investments in automation technology have brought an overall benefit to public-sector IT employees, with a majority finding the technology has saved time and money for their teams.

Posted on Feb 19, 2014 at 11:58 AM0 comments


Report: Enterprise app activations growing rapidly

Report: Good Mobility Index Report for Q4 2013,  part of the Good Technology Mobility Index, an ongoing initiative to track and analyze the impact of mobile apps and platforms.

Key Points: The report found a 54 percent growth quarter over quarter in activations of enterprise applications, which are designed to take advantage of the mobile devices employees are already carrying. The rate is a jump from the 43 percent growth rate from second quarter to third quarter of 2013.

Custom app development continued to grow rapidly at 55 percent, an increase from 52 percent in last quarter’s report. Although document editing remains the dominant choice of enterprise applications, more advanced mobile applications are continuing to close the gap, including business intelligence, secure browser and social business.

The report also found that organizations are continuing to move away from BlackBerry and are further embracing the iOS platform. Fifty-four percent of all device activations last quarter came from iOS smartphones. Android activations saw a one percent decrease to 26 percent.

Financial services dominated all other industries in net activations, accounting for 39.3 percent. Business and professional services were second on the list at 19.6 percent, while the government and public sector accounted for 6.5 percent. 

Bottom Line: “With a 54 percent growth rate quarter over quarter, it’s becoming more and more apparent that organizations are leveraging mobile apps to make employees more collaborative, productive and engaged.”

Posted on Feb 18, 2014 at 7:09 AM0 comments


Report: Agencies struggling to carry out cloud strategies

Report: The Road Ahead: Three Years After Cloud First from Accenture Federal Services and Government Business Council.

Key Findings: A survey of 286 federal executives found that agencies implementing the federal “cloud-first” policy are having trouble with their cloud transition  strategies. Nearly half (49 percent) of agencies have moved only 10 percent or less of their IT portfolios to a cloud three years after the policy was mandated.

The biggest driver of cloud adoption is cost savings. More than one-third (34 percent) of respondents cite cost savings as their primary motivation. Data center consolidation came in second at 24 percent, which is a path to further cost savings.

Respondents believe the largest potential gain from moving to the cloud is better security. This was followed by bigger storage capacity and reduced IT costs.

Otherwise, staff and procurement have been the biggest challenges for federal agencies in adopting cloud technology. Less than one-third (32 percent) of respondents are certain their agency has the necessary staff to execute its cloud strategy.  Nearly one-third (31 percent) believe their agency needs to hire more employees to manage their cloud strategy.

In addition to hiring more employees, nearly half (45 percent) of respondents feel their agencies need to invest in training. Of the 45 percent, nearly one-third (30 percent) believe a significant investment of $25,001 to $50,000 is needed.

Bottom Line: Cloud adoption has proved difficult for federal agencies despite three years of mandates. Most have yet to move a substantial portion of their portfolios to the cloud.

Posted on Feb 14, 2014 at 8:47 AM1 comments