Washington finally embraces tech; the benefits will be here soon

Washington finally embraces tech; the benefits will be here soon

Summary: It's fitting that Washington's top IT administrator, U.S.

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It's fitting that Washington's top IT administrator, U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra, would come out to Silicon Valley to announce one of the federal government's largest technology initiatives - a cloud computing marketplace for government agencies that's designed to reduce red-tape and allow faster deployment of money-saving, energy-efficient cloud-based software.

Kundra, in his prepared remarks at the press event, said several times that this initiative has the full support of the President, who has directed him to seek out the best, safest and most efficient technologies that can help government better serve Americans and operate more efficiently.

It's about time.

After so many years of seeing tech companies go to Washington to either defend themselves to a confrontational - but not overwhelmingly tech savvy - committee of lawmakers or have their explanations of their technologies largely fall on tuned-out ears, there's finally a ray of hope that Washington's perception of Silicon Valley may be changing.

Also see: Sergey Brin: Use of Google Apps could shape tech policy

You see, Silicon Valley has more to offer than iPhone apps and tweets. Silicon Valley is innovating. The brilliant minds - from the engineers to the entrepreneurs - may have been laid off but they never really stopped working to build game-changing technologies. Job cuts and a bad economy suck but the innovative spirit of Silicon Valley never died. In the past 18 months I have been invited to more Tweetups and other networking gigs than I could possibly attend. And at each one, people are talking about ideas, startups, partnerships and even the funding climate.

It's important to note all of this about Silicon Valley because the tech industry used to get dissed pretty bad in Washington. I spent a few years in D.C. and still remember the day that Google co-founder Sergey Brin came to town and was treated more like a tourist than, well, the co-founder of one the biggest technology companies in the world. And, of course, you can't forget that ridiculous rant by Sen. Ted Stevens about the Internet being a "series of tubes."

But I shouldn't be bringing up old stuff. Let's focus on today. There's a new administration in town. But there's also an unprecedented economic situation that's forcing Washington to think outside of the Beltway... I mean, the box. So many other industries have come through town asking for help. The tech industry may be one of a few - if not the only one - that's knocked on the door and actually offered help.

That's not to say that tech industry couldn't use a boost, too. After all, one of the reasons that companies like Google, VMWare, Salesforce and Amazon were quick to show their support for the plan is partly because one of the largest enterprise customers out there is the federal government. If the government embraces a long-term, widespread adoption of new technology, it not only finds some cost savings, but also pumps much needed revenue into the hardware, software and Internet companies out there.

And it even goes further than that. A widespread adoption helps introduce lawmakers, governmental decision makers and their staffs to a cloud-based way of doing business. And as the theory goes - as explained by Brin in the video below - if they use the technology, they're inclined to understand it. If they understand it, they're inclined to set policies to make sure that it sticks around and gets better.

And, in that sense, Silicon Valley and the tech industry benefits.

Topics: Cloud, Browser, Government, Government US, Hardware, Virtualization

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9 comments
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  • It's about time.. Maybe they'll even learn about tech.

    Now if only Washington would start protecting our digital media rights. We should be able to use media we purchase on any device we own. Washington has done everything it can to screw us out of that right for the past decade. Educating them about technology might actually help some of them see how stupid they've been.
    BillDem
  • RE: Washington finally embraces tech; the benefits will be here soon

    >>And, in that sense, Silicon Valley and the tech industry benefits.<<

    Nobody, except crooks like ACORN, [b]ever[/b] benefits when the government sticks its head in the door.

    sackbut
  • Sell sell sell...

    Here's another reason the tech industry is queuing up to offer their
    services:

    "The US Government uses Google Apps"

    That's what I call a ringing endorsement. That'd be a serious coup for
    Google, and would open the door for their planned Chrome OS getting
    some serious adoption. Without turning this into a fanboi flame war, if I
    were Microsoft, I'd be scratching my head and frantically trying to work
    out what killer-feature Windows 8 could have, that a slimmed down
    OS+cloud system won't be able to provide...
    bishofthedump
    • RE: Washington finally embraces tech; the benefits will be here soon

      @bishofthedump
      They could always stick to the tried and true method of pointing out the overhead of running the entirety of your operation via the network? Or just pointing to recent security issues Google has had... just sayin'...
      ITSamurai
  • The Fed is another customer too

    Except any cloud the Fed uses most definitely will not be
    a public cloud. And They're also more likely to contract
    Google to build them a software suite that takes
    advantage of the Fed's could. The Fed will not be using
    the regular Google Apps.

    And what about Google's advances in medical records
    storage as useful for Obama's new plans to revamp
    overhead for Medicare/Health care? Ding ding!!
    odcchaz
  • Not So Awesome

    Cloud computing as it stands is a horrible technology.
    The security level doesn't really exist. Any governmental data will be up for grabs by any hacker that wants to crack the cloud.

    It isn't clear if end users can encrypt their data or connections or if the federal government will not allow personal encryption for security reasons.

    Data ownership is probably right out the window. The government will own what ever data you supply, not the suplier.

    This tech just makes it easier for the U.S.A. government to spy on it's own citizens.

    This move is great for Google apparently but bad for citizens.

    In the U.S.A. we don't have the legislation to protect citizens from clouds. The technology is cool, the benefits are there but the benefits to taxpayers are not great enough to support this type of move.
    mr1972
  • RE: Washington finally embraces tech; the benefits will be here soon

    Wow, this was the most confrontational post I've seen outside the recent health care debates. I don't think announcing a tech initiative, or going to Silicon Valley, has anything to do with DC's view of Silicon Valley. And the idea that Silicon Valley is the home of all tech innovation, or represents Eden to all who desire tech, is just massively egotistical.

    Get over yourself, buddy.
    anonymous
  • RE: Washington finally embraces tech; the benefits will be here soon

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