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GCN : February 2015
Cash-strapped state, local and educa- tion (SLED) agencies started feeling the budget pinch around April 2014 and began reeling in their IT spending com- pared to the previous year. But while IT departments were de- creasing their investments, other areas like education, law enforcement and road construction have been “using technology to better meet their objec- tives while reducing overall (non-IT) costs,” according to a recent report by Onvia, a government business develop- ment consultant. More communities are investing in body cameras to document the behav- iors of public safety officers as a means to increase accountability. Reports indicate body camera technology has doubled from 2013 to 2014. In fact, President Obama recently requested $263 million for body cameras at the state and local level. In the past, munic- ipalities have paid between $50,000 and $1 million for body camera contracts, and there are potentially 9,000 depart- ments that are interested in similar procurements in 2015, Onvia said. Similarly, communities are also projected to increase investment and procurement of school bus cameras to ensure greater student safety. Most commonly, buses are outfitted with three cameras – inside and outside – and some communities have invested in equipping their entire bus fleet with them. The education sector has rapidly increased the use of tablets and laptops to foster technology-based learning in schools. Tablet contracting increased 21 percent between 2013 and 2014, and this growth is expected to continue. In 2013, 85 percent of Chromebooks sold were placed in school systems, which numbered 2.5 million devices. Other vendors, like Curricula, have focused on bringing technology such as 3D printing into the classroom. As more people primarily use their mobile devices to access the Internet, governments are making their services and websites more mobile friendly. As such, state and local governments are investing in open data and engagement tools as well as crowdsourcing technol- ogy to help drive innovation. Procurement of intelligent transpor- tation systems has increased by 13 percent, Onvia reported, a trend that is also expected to continue. Intelligent transportation systems are used by state and local governments to alleviate traffic congestion through a combination of sensors, computers and fiber optic networks that update traffic signals in real time based on the current traffic. • [BrieFing] Low-tech sectors to see more IT spending BY MARK POMERLEAU 16 GCN FEBRUARY 2015 • GCN.COM The Harrisburg University of Science and Technology’s Government Technology Institute has established a new center focused exclusively on safeguarding government data and systems from unauthorized access. The Security Center of Excellence (SCoE) is believed to be the first such center focused solely on securing data entrusted to state, county and local gov- ernments, the university said. Cisco, Deloitte Consulting, IBM, Symantec and Unisys have all agreed to sponsor the SCoE and bring their global experts to HU to help the institute show- case the benefits of collaboration among cybersecurity experts from government, academia and the private sector. “Our goal is to make this a national best practice for training and supporting those within government responsible for safeguarding sensitive data,” said Barb Shelton and Charlie Gerhards, co-direc- tors of the institute. Eric Darr, President of HU, said “these are some of the best security compa- nies in the world and, they will clearly help this Center to achieve its goal and in turn help Pennsylvania’s government safeguard citizen data.” “It also is a tremendous opportunity for our faculty and students to work closely with government IT leaders and distinguished experts from the technol- ogy companies that have agreed to help Pennsylvania continually improve cybersecurity,” he added. The educational program for security specialists in government is planned to begin in spring 2015 and will be followed with seminars, technology testing and collaboration among multiple levels of government. Chuck Davis, a corporate faculty member at Harrisburg and a security expert, noted that “the number of cyber- threats to companies and governments is increasing exponentially and we constantly need to do more to protect confidential data.” • Harrisburg U builds cybersecurity center for state “These are some of the best security companies in the world, and they will clearly help this Center to achieve its goal.” – E RIC DARR, PRESIDENT OF HU 0215gcn_005-016.indd 16 2/3/15 9:33 AM