A New AWS Snowball Edge Provides The Power Of The Cloud In Disconnected Environments

From time to time GovEvents will come across information we feel our members and audience would benefit from. Here's something we wanted to share from Bob Gourley, Founder and CTO at Crucial Point LLC:


For the last decade enterprise architects have all known the importance of engineering continuous connectivity to cloud services. If you want to use the cloud you have to have a path to it.

For parts of the enterprise who may operate at the edge, where connectivity can be an issue, it has been hard to design solutions leveraging public clouds. Depending on the organization, edge users might have some mix of public cloud, private cloud, datacenter access and local compute, all complex and hardly optimized at all. Continue reading

Innovation is Local

Local governments are quickly becoming home to some of the most innovative applications of big data, analytics, machine learning, IoT, and artificial intelligence. This embrace of new technology is borne out of necessity. Local governments have had to get creative to meet the needs of citizens, demanding a more digital government, while dealing with tight budgets. Cities have introduced apps that allow citizens to report potholes, they have installed "smart" lighting to conserve energy, government organizations have opened up data to allow people to apply for permits online and see the status of their case, and so much more. Additionally, local governments are taking a new look at how to better use and correlate all of the data they hold to enhance city and public health planning.

In the midst of these exciting applications of new technologies, there are challenges. Privacy is a huge concern, both from a data perspective as well as images and information captured from IoT devices across a city. There's also a communication and publicity challenge. Citizen-centric apps and services do no good if people don't know they exist or don't use them. Similarly, there is a learning curve for employees and citizens, and developing the right training to encourage new technology use is critical. Continue reading

The Future of AI in Government

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer just a plot line for science fiction movies. The reality of AI is not walking robots threatening to take over human tasks, but instead it is being implemented in our daily lives to complement the way people work and learn. For example, known by their first names Alexa and Siri, these AI figures will soon overtake Cher and Madonna as the most famous one-named women in the world (if they haven't already). AI is also what enables the instant customer service "representative" to pop up on a website to help answer basic questions. With its commonplace use in the commercial market, AI and machine learning are making their way into agencies across government.[Tweet "AI and machine learning are making their way into agencies across government. #GovEventsBlog"]

AI is becoming a key tool to help streamline response to citizen questions as citizen (customer) service has become a top priority across all government agencies. The IRS is beginning to use chatbots to help manage the 75 million phone calls, and 500 billion website visits from taxpayers each year (a number that will likely grow with tax changes). There's also interest in how AI can improve cybersecurity posture by automating more and more cyber monitoring so that systems are responding to threats at machine speed. AI also holds the answer to many big data challenges. The speed of automated machine processing can help agencies get more value out of the massive amounts of data they own for improved service, programs, and mission achievement. Continue reading

Defining the Internet of (Government) Things

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated devices that may have completely different uses, shapes, or sizes, but all have one thing in common-- data and the ability to transfer it autonomously. IoT can be the microchip that helps you find your lost dog, a monitor in a heart valve that alerts doctors and patients to irregular beats, a thermostat that you can turn on remotely, motion detectors that tell you when someone is approaching your door, and so much more. Building on these everyday applications, state, local, and federal agencies are finding ways to use IoT to better serve citizens.[Tweet "IoT was named one of the top subjects discussed at federally-focused events. #GovEventsBlog"]

Since IoT was named one of the top subjects discussed at federally-focused events, we wanted to take a closer look at how government organizations are tapping into the plethora of IoT devices, networks, and capabilities to improve our country's security and welfare. The major trends around IoT in government include:[Tweet "The major trends around IoT in government include: Smart Cities, Cybersecurity and more. #GovEventsBlog"] Continue reading

Alexa, Can You Tell Me About GSA’s Virtual Assistant Pilot?

From time to time GovEvents will come across information we feel our members and audience would benefit from. Here's something we wanted to share:
three dimensional mobile phone isolated on white with clipping path
In the future, citizens seeking government services might not flock to websites. Instead, they might ask their Amazon Alexa, Apple's Siri or a text-based chatbot for help.
At least, that's the plan, per a new pilot program at the General Services Administration.
This week, GSA launched a pilot that would walk federal agencies through the process of setting up virtual assistants, powered by machine-learning and artificial intelligence technology, which can eventually be deployed to citizens.
The goal isn't just to produce more "intelligent personal assistants," or IPAs, GSA's Emerging Citizen Technology Office lead Justin Herman told Nextgov. It's also to build out a structure internally, complete with toolkits and guides, so agencies can decide for themselves whether this technology is worthwhile, he explained.
"The easiest part of this is actually building them," Herman added.

They're also learning how federal data can be presented so it's accessible to those virtual assistants, he added.
GSA plans to run the pilot over the next month and to be able to give agencies the policy, accessibility, security and privacy guidance they need to build a virtual assistant. Eventually, GSA could hand those findings to tech companies so they could better support agencies building IPAs on their platforms.
The pilot's first phase covers making read-only public data available to citizens agencies are considering future phases that are increasingly complex, Herman explained.
GSA's Emerging Citizen Technology Office is also working on similar programs related to virtual reality and augmented reality, Herman said.

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