Vendors match wares to feds' shopping lists

Technology vendors that populated the bustling exhibit floor at the FOSE conference and trade show in Washington, D.C., last week demonstrated how quickly they can — and sometimes must — change to respond to the changing emphases in federal agencies.

New products, partnerships and contracts announced or highlighted at the show revolved around homeland security, e-government, systems consolidation and information sharing.

Hewlett-Packard Co. opened a new Homeland Security Program Office in Houston a month ago, where company Vice President Bill Mutell is evaluating opportunities for HP. One key part of the assessment is finding the right technology partners.

To drive the point home at FOSE, HP set up a demonstration showing how it could incorporate biometrics and Global Positioning System technology to tighten airport security, drawing on expertise from Paradigm Advanced Technologies Inc., BIO-key International Inc. and others.

HP expects biometric technology to be a major item as homeland security funds become available, said Tim Simon, who works in the company's federal marketing division. "The thing government is going to have to show is where it fits into the enterprise architecture," he said. "Just because it's homeland security doesn't mean there's not a business case needed."

Paradigm, which is partnering with both HP and Lockheed Martin Corp. in a bid to increase its federal presence, makes products that use the satellite-based GPS to track cars, objects or even people, senior Vice President Ron Yekutiel said. The company expects the products, which it once marketed to transportation companies as fleet management tools, to find a home in homeland security.

Systalex Corp. is about to release the eReports Portal, a Web-based system that the company says will save agencies tens of thousands of dollars or more by eliminating duplicative report generation.

The software, based on Microsoft Corp.'s SharePoint software, will show whether the report already exists, buried somewhere in a database, said Weipo Liao, Systalex president and chief executive officer. Some reports can cost more than $50,000 to generate, he added.

The company plans to formally announce the product this week at the Knowledge Management conference in Washington, D.C. The conference is being sponsored by E-Gov, which is part of FCW Media Group.

NewTech Infosystems Inc. (NTI) unveiled MobileWorks, a software suite for mobile users that includes applications for disaster recovery, audio recording, and CD and DVD creation.

As workers become more mobile, traveling for work and spending more time at airport checkpoints, more laptop computers are lost and stolen, said Lisa Hall, senior marketing executive for NTI. MobileWorks allows mobile users to plan for such disasters and back up data.

The software also makes it easier for workers to use their laptops in the field and then equip their office computers with the same data and programs. "The ability to update everything you're doing becomes very important," Hall said.

The MobileWorks suite includes Backup Now, Drive Backup, a CD and DVD maker, a CD and DVD copier, File CD, CD Secretary and RealWorks' RealOnePlayer.

Adobe Systems Inc. announced new versions of its Acrobat products. Long known for its software for authoring and reading PDF files that can't be easily altered, Adobe has added Extensible Markup Language features to the products to facilitate information sharing and data routing from the forms into databases, said Kelly Moodie, Adobe's senior marketing manager for global government.

"Acrobat enables government to securely collaborate information across agencies," said Michael Singer, Adobe's newly hired senior director of government marketing. "The document is the face that communicates with people."

The new Acrobat products, Version 6.0, allow the automated creation of PDFs from Microsoft Corp. Office documents. The high-end Acrobat Professional also allows one-click PDF creation from specialized design software including Autodesk Inc.'s AutoCAD and Microsoft Project.

Stilo Corp., a developer of "content engineering technologies" based on XML, released Version 7 of its Omnimark product. The product allows agencies to create XML-based middleware for online publishing and other applications. Earlier versions are in wide federal use.

The updated version adds several new features, including support for Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT), a technology that translates XML into plain text, another XML version or standard HTML.

"People have a lot of information stored in different repositories," said Danielle Leduc, an account manager with Stilo. "They're trying to standardize, but it's all unique." XSLT aids the standardization, she said.

Sara Michael contributed to this story.

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