Narrowcasting vital to e-gov
- By Dan Caterinicchia, Dan Caterinicchia
- Oct 31, 2000
MicroStrategy World 2000 conference home page
Narrowcasting is critical to the broad success of electronic government,
according to a panel of experts at the MicroStrategy World 2000 conference
in Washington, D.C., Tuesday.
In narrowcasting, organizations deliver personalized information to
individuals via such technology as the Internet, cellular phones and palmtop
It's fairly easy to generate the messages people want to receive, whether
it's traffic updates or crime pattern notices, said Bill Piatt, vice president
of e-government at Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc. and former chief information
officer at the GSA. But privacy must not be overlooked, he warn
government side, as soon as you start talking about personalized applications,
people get concerned about privacy," Piatt said. "Opt-in is the only option."
Mark Tanner, information resources manager at the FBI, said the bureau
has "visions for personalized delivery of victim witness notification,"
which would let witnesses know when a criminal is getting out of prison
or being moved.
But the means by which that information is delivered must be universal,
he said. "You need to have a mixed medium way of delivery for that service
because not everyone has a phone or computer," Tanner said.
The "mixed medium" message was also addressed by Helene Epstein, deputy
CIO in the office of student financial assistance at the Education Department.
"Students don't all have computers, and they don't all speak English," she
said. "We just started with the FAFSA in Spanish on the Web."
The panelists agreed that the final part of narrowcasting, which may
be the most crucial to its success and the success of e-government, is feedback
from the people using it.
"The issue of feedback is a huge one," Piatt said. "The real killer
application will come when you can handle the massive amounts of citizen
feedback into the government without the person having to be physically
present. The technologies are not here yet, but that's the brass ring."
Epstein echoed Piatt's sentiments. "We're starting to get more and more
feedback in government, but the technologies and the tools need to keep
us going and we need to stay ahead."