Contractors look to mobility for new opportunity

May 20, 2012

Contractors are rolling out new products and strategies to win work as the federal government shifts more activity to mobile devices.

Steven VanRoekel, the U.S. chief information officer, wrote in a January blog post that the federal government needs to do more “to seize the mobile opportunity.”

He advocated for more sharing so that the government can build an application once and use it multiple times, and he said he is examining variations in the way the government pays for mobile services.

Rockville-based TurningPoint is trying to provide part of the answer. It unveiled last week an expanded version of the product for which it’s best known — software that keeps an inventory of an agency or department’s telecommunications assets in an effort to make costs more visible.

The latest version will provide one platform meant to help agencies manage all of their mobile devices, everything from software and applications to their costs and security.

Agencies are rapidly addressing the issues that go along with shifting to mobile, but not in a comprehensive way, said David R. Hughes, the company’s managing partner.

“What they don’t realize is that ... there’s going to need to be coordination,” he said.

Motorola Solutions’ federal unit released earlier this year a hardware and software package meant to equip smartphones with the security needed for federal use, said Paul Mueller, who heads the company’s Columbia-based federal government unit.

“We just see an emerging market opportunity,” said Mueller, adding that the company has responded to about a dozen government requests for information related to mobility or mobile security in the past year. “It’s very nascent right now. I think security is the big part of this that needs to be solved, so that’s what we’re sinking our teeth into.”

Local companies are not only rolling out new products but also adapting their existing software to apply to mobile devices from phones to tablets.

Scott Braynard of Bomgar, a Jackson, Miss.-based software company with a Reston office, said he is finding the company’s product, allowing organizations to provide IT support remotely, applied more and more to mobile devices.

Peter Cattaneo, vice president at United Kingdom-based Intercede, which also has an office in Reston, said his company’s software, which helps verify the identities of users signing into their computers at about a dozen federal agencies, is increasingly being used for mobile devices.

“Both our government business and all of our commercial business is moving at breakneck pace towards being mobile,” he said, but added that it will take time for the mobile piece to make up a significant piece of Intercede’s revenue.

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