Going Mobile: Desktops Are Like … Vacuums?


With the mobile revolution already begun will we soon see a world without desktops? Not so much said the panel at this morning’s AFCEA Bethesda breakfast at the Bethesda Marriott.

“I see desktops like a vacuum cleaner,” GSA Director of Mobile Gwynne Kostin said. “It’s something I need, but not every day, like the vacuum in my house that might be used … once in awhile.”


Some highlights from the panel that also included National Cancer Institute Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology COO Caterina Lasome, DISA’s Lt. Col. Anmy Torres and EPA Senior Technology Advisor Dalroy Ward.

  • Ward says the key to engagement is to create apps native to each device instead of making one app for several devices as iPhones work differently from Androids and Blackberrys. “It’s harder for us up front, but gives a better user experience.”
  • DoD users can only use Blackberry or Windows Mobile devices, although it would like to expand that soon, Torres said. The key is setting up the security requirements to enable the quick adoption of those devices.
  • Torres added that any devices DoD brings in needs the ability to shutdown video, Bluetooth, wifi, etc., and location tracking software. “Not everyone in DoD needs – or should – be able to be tracked,” she said.
  • As for what devices the government chooses to create apps for that depends on the market, Ward says. “It could be the greatest device ever, but if only one percent of people have it then its no good to us.”
  • Kostin said FAA is trying a pilot program where if an employee gets a tablet they lose their desktop. The agency is holding meetings once per week to see if this approach is working.
  • The National Cancer Institute is testing apps for mobile devices at its clinical centers. Patients want information on a variety of different devices – the key is how to effectively deliver them, Lasome said.
  • EPA is working on an indoor air app for home owners and construction companies that can check air quality. It also gives construction companies regulations at their fingertips, saving construction time and costs.

Register to attend FedScoop’s MobileGov: Citizen Engagement on the Go, June 28, 2011, 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., Hotel Monaco, Washington, DC.

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