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GCN : May 2014
ANYONE WHO MANAGES IT systems knows a tech- nology change can have a domino e ect across an entire organization. Today, there are several IT changes on the horizon which, within the next two years, could hit government IT organizations very much like a line of falling dominoes. Government IT managers and business process planners will need to keep these cascading changes in mind as they make their long-range IT plans. The first domino in line is the rapid growth of the Inter- net of Things (IoT). This re- fers to a wide range of items, including sensors attached to roads, bridges and tra c lights; energy consumption monitors embedded into building heating and cooling systems; and even so called "personal area networks" that channel data from smart- phones, health monitors and heads-up displays like Google Glass. The second domino to hit government hard will be changes related to mobile devices and mobile networks. Discussions about mobile are no longer limited to tablets, smartphones and Wi-Fi systems. Mobility also means closing that last mile to the vast array of IoT devices that are popping up across the country. Thousands of networked parking meters or tra c lights don t each get their own cellphone connec- tion; they connect via neigh- borhood wireless systems. THE DOMINO EFFECT: THE INTERNET OF THINGS, THEN MOBILE, BIG DATA AND CLOUD INTERNAUT BY SHAWN McCARTHY Consequently, companies like IBM, Hewlett-Packard and General Electric have entered into citywide pilots related to the infrastructures needed to support this wide range of new city-manage- ment devices. Sometimes commercial projects can piggyback on government infrastructure. Electronics companies Philips and Erics- son are working with Verizon Wireless on a project to merge energy-e cient street lighting with mobile phone infrastructure. With that kind of wireless infrastructure in place, new solutions can be attached to the networks. For example, in Barcelona, Spain, sensors in public trash cans alert workers to when they should be emptied. The city also monitors how water is being used, with an application that workers can view from an iPad. The third domino to hit government is already at the tipping point. It s the cloud- based solutions that are rapidly coming to the fore- front for many departments. Even though the majority of public-sector IT departments still maintain their own data centers, when they launch new solutions, they are likely to use cloud-based infrastruc- ture. This practice is espe- cially true for applications that generate large quantities of new data or that require data feeds from outside the enterprise. As a result, agen- cies need to be ready to make the enterprise architecture changes necessary to interact with third-party IT resources. These improvements can range from boosting network bandwidth to establishing an enterprise services bus to allow both new and legacy applications to interact with the new data sets. So these first three exam- ples show how one domino falls into the next. 1) The growing IoT will boost the need for 2) new broadband mobile solutions, and new mobile solutions will feed data into 3) rapidly expand- ing cloud solutions. But the cascade of IT changes doesn t stop there. We ve already mentioned that these trends are having an impact on the enterprise IT architecture within many organizations. Next domino: With the growth of mobile and cloud- based applications, look for more agencies to outsource application management and device management. This trend will lead to standard devices and apps across the enterprise (and actually lead away from support for the bring-your-own-device move- ment). And within their internal networks, government orga- nizations are seeking solu- tions that will provide them with quickly reconfigurable networks. Cisco s "applica- tion aware networks" provide better (and often highly auto- mated) network optimization and control, with a focus on network capacity manage- ment and planning that is trigged by an awareness of application usage and perfor- mance across the network. The real long-term issue here is that most government agencies want to make this type of change, but they lack the IT investment capital to make it happen. This is not an easy path to walk. But being ready for these falling dominos could be the di erence between being prepared for change and hav- ing the force of that change come crashing down. • --- Shawn McCarthy is research director for IDC Government Insights. Most government agencies want to make changes, but they lack the IT investment capital to make it happen. 16 GCN MAY 2014 • GCN.COM