Digi Int'l nabs subcontracts

Digi International Inc., a remote-access company, is making a name for itself in the federal government, having been selected recently as a subcontractor on several large indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts.

The company has subcontractor roles on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's scientific workstation contract, held by Data Procurement Corp., and the Air Force's Desktop V, held by Hughes Data Systems. The company also is a product supplier on the Defense Department's Defense Medical Systems Support Center Automation Support Hardware pact, held by Cordant Inc., and the Air Force's Integration for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence and Unified Local-Area Network Architecture II contracts. The company works through Electronic Data Systems Corp. on both IC4I and ULANA II

Under these contracts, worth about $13 million to Digi, the company will provide its full range of network and remote-access products. Those include the Retoura remote-access router, DataFire Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) network-interface cards and Xem intelligent serial-communication products.

Digi opened its federal office about two years ago when the government market for remote-access devices was heating up, said Richard Bowers, government systems sales manager at Digi. "With government downsizing, remote access became a big issue," he said. "There are fewer people to do the work and more need to pass information around at a quicker speed. One of the big things is to dial in from the road or home and access e-mail. It has become more of a necessity. Even a year ago it was a luxury."

Digi plans to move its federal office to Arlington, Va.'s, Crystal City development this month and increase the number of employees focused solely on the federal market.

Bowers said part of almost any contract now includes a requirement for remote-access products. "That's grown to be a large part of contracts now," he said. For example, the Army's PC-2 contract, one that Digi is pursuing, calls for ISDN communication for all PCs on the contract. "That is really saying that they need high-speed communications dial-up for workstations that they're ordering on this contract, which is really quite momentous. To come out with a major contract and have one very clear product on it that is for ISDN communication for stand-alone PCs is a real step forward in high-speed dial-up communications."

The remote-access market is changing in other ways too. Internet and intranet technologies are displacing traditional dial-up products, said Steve LeCompte, vice president of IDC Government Market Services.

"The Internet is an outside plug into the internal intranet," LeCompte said. It provides, through a Web browser, an alternative way to access electronic mail and exchange files. "If an agency is using an intranet to communicate with employees, it's a fairly easy step to access it from home."

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