Mobile technology allows government workers to get out from behind their desks and outside of buildings to bring services directly to the people, even if those people are homeless and living under a bridge, according to government CIOs who spoke at Tuesday’s FOSE conference.

For example, Veterans Affairs Deputy CIO Stephen Warren said mobile technology is revolutionizing health delivery, benefits delivery and memorial services.

“We are ending homelessness as we know it for veterans. You don’t do that in a building. Providing those key critical systems sitting behind a desk in an office doesn’t work anymore,” he said. “We are providing mobile devices for field workers. When they come across somebody, they say ‘you are a vet and you are eligible for services.’ We are moving the delivery of those services out to where we interact with our clients.”

Warren said with a tablet, for example, a worker can access medical information and available services and map out a plan for the homeless vet right where they are, without having to write the veteran’s name down on a piece of paper and take it back to the office, by which time the homeless vet may have moved on.

Other CIOs at the FOSE session on mobile government talked about their experience with mobile technology, noting benefits, but also problems with the multitude of devices and the difficulties in making sure they can access governmental information.

Steve Fletcher, CIO of the state of Utah, said consumers want to be able to access information about state departments and services, no matter what device they use. With the turnover in devices happening, on average, every seven months, Fletcher said it’s a challenge to make sure that information is retrievable whether by iPad, Android, Blackberry tablet or another mobile device.

“In two to five years, the expectation will be that you will provide the information that I want to the device I have,” he said. “How in the world do you accommodate that? If you don’t you are going to have complaints that you support one but not the other. Your strategy has to include all of that.”