The new computing generation has burst on the federal scene in a big way. The latest manifestation is solicitations coming from two cabinet agencies.

But they remind me of a scene many years ago. I spoke at the retirement party of a federal executive who had briefly worked on a program called seat management. I joked that more people were attending the party than had signed up for seat management, and got a roar of laughter.

“Seat”, as people called it, meant a contractor would supply to federal agencies a PC and all of the required software and services, charging a per-user, per-month fee.

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Seat management, touted as the biggest thing since computers, went over like a lead balloon. But it turns out, the concept might have simply been ahead of its time.

Today, agencies one by one are putting their productivity applications in the cloud. Separately, they are providing mobile devices or letting employees bring their own under BYOD plans.

Marry cloud and BYOD and you have the 21st century version of seat management. The difference today is the seat can be in someone’s car or kitchen, at the beach or in an airplane.

About those two new request proposals demonstrating what is going on: Keep reading →

Police and other emergency management officials in four cities around the country got a glimpse of what the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) might look like once the infrastructure begins to take root.

Five months after Congress passed a law that granted public safety organizations the much-needed mobile broadband spectrum (the so-called D Block in the 700 MHz band), Melbourne, Fla.-based Harris Corp. conducted the first live test of a real-time first responder network. The test, conducted July 12, spanned four states and leveraged 700MHz band LTE (Long Term Evolution) technologies. Keep reading →

Federal agencies are quickly working to make it cheaper and faster for private companies to build broadband services along government property in every part of the United States under orders from President Obama.

Obama’s June 13 executive order directed agencies that are landlords managing federal properties and highways to streamline the application process and make it easier to lay down broadband wiring on or near federal property in the next six months to a year. That includes buildings and large tracts of government land such as the national parks. Keep reading →

“The unthinkable has become thinkable,” a senior federal procurement official declared today as agencies consider new technology solutions in the face of increasingly stark budget choices.

“Five years ago, decisions we would not touch,” such as giving up control over agency IT systems,” today are on the plate and (we are) seriously considering,”said Mark Day (pictured at left above), director for Strategic Solutions the General Service Administration‘s Integrated Technology Services, a part of the GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service. Keep reading →

President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal calls for a significant boost in funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) with the aim of supporting advanced manufacturing research and help reignite a crippled industry with technology support.

The budget proposal, released Monday, calls for $857 million, an increase of $106.2 million, or 14.1%, compared to FY 2012–an increase that is considered unusual given the cutbacks that most agencies have had to embrace in the coming fiscal year. Keep reading →

The Federal Communications Commission has released the FCC Mobile Broadband Test App, which measures mobile data connection quality and speed.

According to, the Federal Communications Commission mobile application allows consumers to test the upload speed, download speed, and latency of a mobile broadband connection and share results via email export. Keep reading →