FOSE tech showcase separates the tools from the toys

Government expo will show the best and brightest IT for feds

So another Consumer Electronics Show has come and gone, and the most memorable thing for me was the Cell TV from Toshiba that lets you change channels by waving your arms. Good luck if you’re sitting on News Channel 8 and want to head up to the NFL Network on 180. You’ll look like you’re trying to dog paddle in your living room to get there.

Actually I didn’t attend the show this year. GCN Lab reviewer Trudy Walsh scanned the show floor from stem to stern and brought us all the news we could handle. And kudos to her for finding the really important stuff amid all the gizmos and gadgets that don't really help feds do their jobs better, even though some of them are admittedly very cool.

If only CES was more helpful in that respect. Despite getting a little more serious this year with special guests like federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, CES remains mostly true to its name, a CONSUMER electronics show. Hey, give them credit for truth in advertising.

In just a few months there will be another show that Chopra should probably attend if he wants to get real work done and not just walk around a show floor being treated like a rock star. Of course I’m talking about FOSE, a show designed specifically from the ground up for feds. This will be my 13th year attending FOSE, and it keeps getting better. It used to stand for Federal Office Systems Expo (shhhh, the bosses here don’t want me to tell you that) and even though they don’t use that acronym anymore, for me it never really changed. All the technology you could possibly ever use in your federal agency will be on display.

How do I know? Because each year I’m the chief justice for the GCN Best of FOSE Awards. Unlike a lot of trade show contests, the GCN Best of FOSE Awards involve lab reviewers and reporters from GCN visiting every booth and reviewing each entry. We can’t run each product through a full lab review, but we do as much as we can with it from the show floor. We never skip a product, and we’ve found some real gems. A look at the winners from last year is like an honor roll of top products aimed at feds, featuring, well, pretty much everything. There's an Access Control Smartcard Solution from Hewlett-Packard, an amazing display from Hyundai (yes, the car people) and one of the best GPS devices we’ve ever seen (it’s also a full computer running Vista), the Trimble Yuma.

FOSE is set for March 23 to March 25 this year, so it’s coming up fast. If you work for a company that wants to do business with the federal government, you really need to be at this show. And once you’re an exhibitor, entering the GCN Best of FOSE contest is free. Everyone gets a fair and in-person evaluation whether you’re a multibillion dollar corporation or a mom-and-pop shop. And you might just get to meet me in my shiny blue lab coat! Bonus! But don’t wait because March will be here before you know it. Check out all the rules for how the contest works and then fill out the form to enter and get your hat in the ring.

The more entries we get for the GCN Best of FOSE Awards, the more interesting the show will be for me and the other judges, and the better it will be for feds looking to ferret out the cream of the crop. See you all at the show!

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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