5 take-aways from GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER LIVE on wearables – Plus 7 Gov Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

You can find all of our programs online: DorobekINSIDER.com and GovLoop Insights at http://insights.govloop.com.

But up front: 5 take-aways from GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER LIVE on wearables.

Wearables — if you don’t know anything about them, you probably need to. You may notice many people wearing something on their arm that looks like a watch yet with a cylon-looking front. My first connection with wearables was FitBit — a remarkable device that tracks health data (number of steps, stairs climbed, hours slept, etc). And there are a growing number of these kinds of devices out there — futuristic watches… or Google Glass, which actually puts a tiny computer screen in a corner of the glasses. At least for me, they are really cool technologies, but are there applications for the enterprise — for government for business?

There are already some trend setters who are very excited by the potential — I mean how many times do you reach for your phone or tablet to get some piece of information to do your job? What if that was hands-free? And like the transformation that we all went through with the iPhone, some see wearables having a similar kind of impact.

Andrew Sheehy of Generator Research says wearable technologies reimagine how we experience the Internet… how we access information… how we capture information… how we share information… how we communicate with others… and he predicts that is just the start of the changes… In fact, he says that in the future, we will look back at devices like the iPhone and wonder how we ever managed.

And Deloitte named wearables as one of the 14 technology trends worth watching this year.

Today, that seems like a lot, but… it is hard to remember the pre-iPhone world these days.

On June’s GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER LIVE, we asked this question to a great panel of thought leaders:

You can hear the full conversation here.

But… My 5 take-aways from that discussion:

  1. We are still early: As I was working on guests for this discussion, most organizations felt it was too early… even to talk about early thoughts on the subject. I mentioned a recent survey showed that 85 percent of public sector organizations had no IT plan to include wearable technology… that’s according to business software provider Ipswitch.

  2. Don’t bury your head in the sand: Most of our guests said organizations just can’t ignore technology these days — and should at least be thinking about what these technologies might mean. the Defense Research Projects Agency — DARPA — has several programs devoted to wearable-like technologies. It is working on something it calls Warrior Web, which is a whole uniform that is design to improve the person’s performance… and Urban Leader Tactical Response, Awareness and Visualization program seeks to improve the safety and performance of soldiers in combat. There are other applications. In Australia, firefighters are being set up with a data-transmitting pill that can detect early signs of heat stress… And the state of Utah is credited with creating the first state government application that is enabled for Google Glass — a transit-tracking application. it’s called UT OnTime… and it notifies the person the status of the train or bus they are waiting for. (And I should note that we got to talk to Utah CTO David Fletcher about that application.)

  3. This is mobile on steroids: Yes, wearables are different, but we don’t have to forget everything we ever learned. The general recommendation: Start with what you know about mobile.

  4. Don’t be the NO person: I noted that Steve Cooper, who was just named the CIO at the Commerce Department, was early at integrating iOS devices into the FAA when he was the CIO there. His one requirement: Users had to come to him with a business case as to how the device was going to help them do their job better. He set parameters around the reporting and monitoring of how it was going, but it enabled him to avoid being the CI-No and to instead be a strategic partner to allow the organization to use technology to accomplish its mission.

  5. Just do it — do it smartly, but find a way to dip your toe into the wearable water.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Monday the 23rd of June 2014

  1. Nextgov: IRS Chief Compares IRS IT System to a Model T- “One uncontested theme in the fury surrounding the Internal Revenue Service’s admission that it lost two years’ worth of emails subpoenaed by investigators: The agency is working with some outdated information technology.”

  2. FCW: Feds get resourceful in implementing DATA Act- “A Treasury Department official with responsibility for developing DATA Act compliance guidelines says the plan is to keep new data creation to a minimum – largely because there is no new money available to implement the measure.”

  3. WSJ: SEC Files Lawsuit to Enforce Subpoenas Issued to Congress- “The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit Friday seeking to enforce subpoenas the agency issued to Congress in a possible insider-trading case, according to people familiar with the matter. The SEC went to a New York court after the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means refused to comply with the agency’s request for information and testimony in the matter, the people said.”

  4. Government Executive: New HHS Secretary Reshuffles Obamacare Management- “In preparation for this fall’s Affordable Care Act enrollment period, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell on Friday announced a new management structure drawing on recommendations following last year’s messy rollout of Healthcare.gov.”

  5. Federal News Radio: Obama picks Colvin to head Social Security agency- “President Barack Obama is naming the acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration to officially fill the job overseeing the massive retirement and disability program amid looming financial challenges. The White House said Friday that Obama will nominate Carolyn Watts Colvin, who has been the deputy commissioner for three and a half years and acting commissioner since Michael Astrue stepped down in February 2013 at the end of his six-year term.”

  6. Government Executive: High Court Rules Public Workers Can Testify- “The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that government workers who speak out on issues beyond their own disciplines are protected against employer retaliation, a decision that encouraged advocates for federal whistleblowers.”

  7. DOD: US Conducts Successful Missile Intercept Test in Pacific- “The U.S. military today successfully intercepted an intermediate-range ballistic missile test target launched from the U.S. Army’s Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, according to a Defense Department news release issued today.”

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder… yes, we’re trying to help you make your water-cooler time better too…

  • Workplace Surveillance Sees Good and Bad [The New York Times] Advanced tools to monitor employees are training an unblinking digital eye on workers as never before, offering some insights into productivity but also raising privacy concerns, The New York Times reports. Companies have been able to learn, for instance, that workers are more productive if they have more social interaction. Restaurants can use software that tracks sales for individual waiters both to sniff out theft and to identify top-performing workers. But skeptics warn that the push marks a return to workplace theories of a century ago that hardened into a speedup dogma that workers hated.

  • Social media fail to live up to early marketing hype [The Wall Street Journal] After years of chasing Facebook Inc. fans and Twitter Inc. followers, many companies now stress quality over quantity in social-media strategies, tracking mentions of the brand, then using that information to help the business, the WSJ reports. Gallup says 62% of the more than 18,000 U.S. consumers it polled said social media had no influence on their buying decisions. U.S. companies spent $5.1 billion on social-media advertising last year, but Gallup says “consumers are highly adept at tuning out brand-related Facebook and Twitter content.”

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