CIO - WASHINGTON -- Government agencies have been feeling the squeeze in their budgets for some time, but looking ahead the spending cuts can only be expected to slice deeper, regardless of whether or not lawmakers manage to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, a looming set of cuts and tax increases set to take effect in January absent congressional action.
But as the feds head into a what looks like a time of austerity, expectations for government services remain high. That could translate into a greater reliance on lean, tech-driven private-sector players that can tap into the deep reservoirs of federal and industry data to provide novel, citizen-facing applications, according to Tom Davis, a former Republican congressman from Virginia who now serves as director of government affairs with the consultancy Deloitte & Touche.
"Politically, while the leaders have been kicking the can down the road, we have this intersection where there are opportunities and government's going to have to do more with less," Davis said in remarks here at the Reboot America conference, an event focused on the intersection of public policy and technology, particularly startups.
Is D.C. the Next Great Tech Startup Hub?
"This is a great opportunity for those of you with innovative ideas," he added. "Now is the time you're going to have to do it, because the money just isn't there."
The conference also featured a panel of socially-minded entrepreneurs who are either working with government groups or other sectors to apply technology to advance a particular cause, such as RxAnte, which deploys predictive modeling to make precise determinations about which patients are likely to need reminders to adhere to their medication.
In the energy sector, Opower has partnered with around 70 utility companies to convert their raw usage data into a novel way for consumers to visualize -- and, hopefully, reduce -- their electricity consumption. Opower also makes the data it gleans from its utility partners available through APIs, inviting developers -- and potential competitors -- to create their own applications relating to energy usage.
"From the business side, it makes us a platform," said Michael Sachse, Opower's general counsel and vice president of regulatory affairs. "We have the APIs, and so everyone's coming through us to get to the utility. We feel very comfortable about that position. But also we feel comfortable about the idea that, you know, we want to develop a system in which you're going to get lots of different tools to lots of different people.
"And we feel like we have a mass-communication system which we're very comfortable with, and if someone can come in and build on top of that, that's exciting for us. We get new ideas. Maybe we can get inspired by some of those ideas. But also it makes our other objective -- not just a business end, but an efficiency end -- more likely because you've got more and more people engaging with energy usage in creative ways," he added.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
If you use ‘password,’ one the worst passwords, as your password, fail to keep antivirus protection updated and don’t bother to deploy security patches to close critical vulnerabilities, then maybe you should consider working for the cybersecurity-clueless federal government; you’d fit right in, according to Senator Tom Coburn's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure report.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Secure, Centralized, Simple: Multi-platform EMM
- BYOD, corporate-issued, or a mix. Manage all the mobile platforms and devices in your enterprise through a single pane of glass.
- The CIO's Guide to Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM)
- This guide will help those making an EMM platform decision make the best choice for their organization.
- Yankee Group: BlackBerry Results Refute Rumors of its Demise
- Yankee Group: BlackBerry® is stronger than the press makes it out to be.
- Your New EMM Platform: How to Streamline the Migration
- Smartphone migration can be resource-intensive and challenging. Find out how outsourcing the process can save significant time and money. All Government IT White Papers
- Mobile Apps and Devices Slash Customer Cycle Time Consolidated Engineering Laboratories' field employees used to collect data on triplicate forms that were sometimes hard to read and difficult to manage. After...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- Testimonial: Cystic Fibrosis Trust Peter Hawkins, the Head of IT for Cystic Fibrosis Trust, discusses the role CommVault's Simpana software platform plays in improving the company's information...
- PST Archiving: What is it and How is it Done? Learn more about what PST data is, the risks relating to it, and how the new PST Archiving feature in the Simpana 10...
- How to Select the Right IoT Platform We are rapidly entering a world where almost everything will be connected to the cloud and managing these connected things and leveraging the...
- All Government IT Webcasts