FOSE puts a spotlight on technology

Attractions include RFID, security, e-documents

This could be the breakout year for radio frequency identification technology if the vendors at the FOSE trade show provide any indication. Demonstrations of RFID capabilities were among the show’s highlights.

Other vendors showcased developments in secure collaboration, handheld computers and document management, underscoring the importance of technology to government agencies.

RFID gets its own pavilion
The RFID Pavilion, sponsored by Symbol Technologies, brought together nine companies that illustrated three trends in the technology’s evolution.

The first trend combines the use of active and passive ID tags to assist supply chain management. The second focuses on the use of software to manage data from many tags. The third trend shows improvements in the security of the wireless transmission of data between tags and customers’ main information networks.

Savi Technologies illustrated the first two elements by using the technology to extend supply chain management to the proverbial last mile in field deployments, said Blake Nelson, a presales engineer at the company.

Savi uses a combination of technologies and software to track items wherever they go, Nelson said. Trucks and containers have Global Positioning System units or active tags. Parts of containers get active tags, too, while pallets get passive tags. Boxes and individual items may get passive tags or bar codes. Savi provides customers with scanners that read active and passive tags and bar codes.

Software tracks each tag and relays its information, providing notices when action is necessary to secure whatever the tag monitors, Nelson said.  

Fortress Technology provided an example of the third trend, offering products that encrypt wireless communications more securely between tag-scanning devices and the enterprise network, said Bill Moore, the company’s director of strategic programs. That helps with inventory management, logistics and secure communications, he said.

Cisco alliance enables secure collaboration
Cisco Systems and Decru, along with other partners, have developed a solution for secure collaboration, built using commercial software. The collaboration solution provides a security architecture designed for the military or other organizations that need to share sensitive or classified information. It combines strong encryption, network partitioning and desktop security capabilities. The companies demonstrated the system at FOSE.

U.S. Central Command is testing the system now, said Kevin Brown, vice president of marketing at Decru. The partner companies began working on it late last year, and they spent about three months to design and build the initial system, said Richard Campbell, a Cisco engineer.

Adobe offerings manage documents
Meanwhile, Adobe officials described how the company’s document management solutions are boosting productivity for the public and agency workers. Adobe’s LiveCycle Reader Extensions have helped reduce the time that retired veterans spend completing forms from the Veterans Health Administration. Now, veterans can fill out forms online, submit them via e-mail, and print and save copies for their own records, said Rebecca Chisolm-Winkler, director of Global Government Markets at Adobe.

Michael Arnone, Michael Hardy, Michelle Speir Haase and Aliya Sternstein contributed to this article.

RIM’s BlackBerry lives on the EDGE

Officials at Research in Motion, maker of BlackBerry handheld computers, are relieved that their legal battle is finally over.

Moving forward, the company has introduced its first handheld device that runs on the Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE) network, the BlackBerry 8700c. The EDGE network facilitates worldwide connectivity at broadband speeds.

Other significant new features include an extremely bright, clear display with 320 x 240 resolution in addition to dedicated Send and End keys for better phone functionality.

RIM also showed a smart card reader, which doubles as an ID badge, with an attached lanyard and a holder for the card so that the owner’s photo is visible.

The reader, which is already available, communicates with the BlackBerry via Bluetooth, allowing users to work securely without needing to attach an extra module to the handheld device. If someone removes the card from the reader, the BlackBerry immediately locks.

“The BlackBerry Smartcard Reader is a new paradigm in mobile authentication that doesn’t compromise security or usability,” said Scott Totzke, director of government technology at RIM. “It’s lightweight, very wearable and doubles as an ID badge holder.”

About the Author

Connect with the FCW staff on Twitter @FCWnow.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Shutterstock image: looking for code.

    How DOD embraced bug bounties -- and how your agency can, too

    Hack the Pentagon proved to Defense Department officials that outside hackers can be assets, not adversaries.

  • Shutterstock image: cyber defense.

    Why PPD-41 is evolutionary, not revolutionary

    Government cybersecurity officials say the presidential policy directive codifies cyber incident response protocols but doesn't radically change what's been in practice in recent years.

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group