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Social media impacting state & local procurement as related contracting opportunities set to rise

In December 2012, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google + were estimated to have over 1.7 billion combined users, an increase of over 500 million for the year. When something takes off in social media, things move, people notice, and change happens. The combined power of social media numbers, communication, and technology has certainly gotten the attention of state and local government, as agencies increasingly use it as a tool with which to engage citizens.  
In 2011, state and local government’s use rates for Twitter were over 60 percent and for Facebook over 90 percent, with annual growth rates closing in on 300 percent. From 2010 to 2011, social media use by the 75 largest city governments grew faster than any other interactive online tool. Looking ahead, over 80 percent of state and local government employees expect their agency’s use of social media to increase in the next 12-18 months. 

As government’s interest grows, so do the related business opportunities. In our previous analysis at the end of Q3 2012, Deltek projected the number of social media-related business opportunities to continue climbing upward closing out 2012 and moving into 2013 (see Figure 1, below).
Figure 1
Since then, Deltek conducted a deeper analysis, finding even more social media-related business opportunities for comparison. In our new analysis (see Figure 2, below), 2012 showed a slowing in new social media opportunities, especially in Q3 and Q4 (note, these are calendar year quarters, not the fiscal year quarters often associated with state budget cycles). Considering that FY 2012 was one of the toughest overall all funds budget years for states, some of this slowdown is not a surprise. When also factoring in the fiscal cliff negotiation uncertainties with overall Q4 reductions in GDP, some scaling back in new solicitations closing out Q3 and Q4 make sense.
Figure 2
 However, good news continues to abound in state government finances, with 3 straight years of general fund revenue and expenditure growth. States have made the cuts they needed and almost all are operating again with balanced or surplus budgets.
With this positive economic outlook in the states in mind, looking to January 2013 and beyond shows promise. The number of identified new social media-related business opportunities in state and local government increased 82% (from 17 to 31) from January 2012 to January 2013 (Figure 3). Even better news, January performance is projected to rise in years to come (Figure 4).
Figure 3 
Figure 4
Taking another look at solicitations by month, Deltek discovered that January has a very strong correlation (r2 = .89) to overall yearly contracting opportunities for the state and local government social media market. Looking back at previous years, it also appears that months in Q3 and Q4 have much weaker correlations to overall yearly counts. With this in mind, the slump from Q3 and Q4 in 2012 is even less discouraging and the January 2013 bump holds even more promise for future performance. Projecting yearly social media-related solicitation totals from January solicitation totals shows growth looking ahead (Figure 5).
Figure 5:

·         The social media market in state and local government holds tremendous potential for contractors.
·         Social media-related features and functionality are being used in every conceivable state and local government IT system and all vertical areas of service.
·         Market slowdown or saturation is unlikely; new technology and application possibilities will continue to expand contracting opportunities.
·         Deltek’s basic projection of growth in social media-related solicitations from state and local government remains unchanged; continued growth in 2013 and years ahead.
1.     Make plans to grow your state and local government-related business through the emerging social media technology market.
2.     Collaborate and partner with government to develop social media solutions.
3.     Get in on the ground floor now by developing social media functionality that integrates with your current products and services.
    1. Start with the lower hanging fruit by integrating third party social media and social media-like features into your existing government-focused applications
    2. As part of your solutions, develop purpose-built mobile apps with social media components and social media-like features.
·   Help government directly engage with citizens, deliver services, and gather date wherever their citizens are through their smart mobile devices.
·   Move away from only Web-based or supplement Web-based with mobile app-based.
·   Integrate mobile with social media and social media-like features into every IT solution; it will be a contract winning differentiator.
·   Assist government in integrating the big data from your (or your competitor’s) mobile apps with social media/social media-like features.
  1. Work to develop new social media and social media-like features in IT growth areas and areas of natural fit
    • Health care IT
    • Emergency communications
    • Content management
    • Customer relations management
    • E-commerce
    • Educational technology
    • GIS/location-based services
    • Human resources
    • Student information systems
    • Transportation IT)
For more information, download the free summary of the Deltek Report on Social Media in State and Local Government, here.
Follow me on Twitter, here.

Social Media Week: How social media has already changed the way we talk to governments

Back when I worked in Washington D.C. at a nonprofit that doled out best practice policy advice to state and local government leaders, part of my job was researching and answering questions from our members. Oftentimes a week would not go by without a city manager or department director asking about social media. Sometimes they asked what the best platforms were to use; other times they wondered about standardized practices and guidelines or legal and ethical pitfalls. Some wondered whether it was even appropriate for governments to be communicating in real time on Facebook or Twitter. Most of the time, they just wanted to use social media to better communicate with their citizenry. As one member put it to me: “In order to speak to the people I serve, I have to go to where they are. And social media is where most of my people are today.”

This powerful need for governments to gravitate toward Web 2.0 tools – even when they don’t fully understand how or why – has stuck with me as I’ve moved to the IT contracting intelligence market. It’s a powerful illustration of not just the need for governments to keep up with the technological habits of their citizens, but also how it can act as a catalyst for rethinking the way we interact with our civic leaders and vice versa. It also shows that there is still plenty of room for experimentation, creativity and selling in the private sector when it comes to integrating these tools into the IT arsenal of agencies, universities and policymakers.
Social media as a portal for G2C interaction
Source: “Social Media in State & Local Government: A New Paradigm for Engagement and Innovation”, Deltek 2012
By now it is no secret that one of the best ways to use social media in government is G2C, or government-to-citizen applications. As a direct communication or public relations tool, these apps can only be so distinct from the information presented on a government’s Web page or a written press release disseminated to newspapers. As a Canadian government official asked while delivering a speech last year on the potential of the medium: “How are … social media and interactive websites changing how public institutions conduct their business? Is the change profound or are we just replicating the use of traditional media on new platforms?”
Where the technology really distinguishes itself is through its ability to coordinate real-time, citizen-produced updates to their government in order to coordinate more efficient action on a range of issues or problems that plague every city, county and town across the country. Larger cities or states with sophisticated or well-funded budgets might want to emulate the U.S. State Department’s CO.NX program, which connects users to officials through Web and video chats on a range of public policy issues. It would not be difficult for states to model and merge a program like this into their existing 311 call center technologies to provide a wider range of services relying on online interaction. San Francisco, Calif., currently integrates several social media platforms into its 311 system, providing citizens an easy and familiar portal to submit a help request when they may have no idea who to contact about a downed tree outside of their apartment.
The spread of social media over the past 10 years has proven to be exponential. A pair of University of Illinois studies on local government social media use found a dramatic increase in government-to-citizen interaction from 2009 to 2011.
“The change in social media adoption is remarkable - increasing from two to five times over the levels observed two years ago,” according to the authors. The integration of popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube into government operations increased from 250-600 percent.
Source: “Social Media in State & Local Government: A New Paradigm for Engagement and Innovation”, Deltek 2012
Of particular interest to government contractors should be the rise and relatively untapped potential of open data portal technology. These portals often need to be customized to fit an individual government or agency’s information-sharing needs, and thus cannot always be purchased off the shelf or adapted from available  (and free) social networking applications. Oftentimes governments will need third-party expertise to design and integrate these portals into their existing IT infrastructure. Making this information easily accessible and user friendly to those outside of government is crucial to the growth of this technology, something that policymakers who have spent a lifetime in government may not be best suited for.
Of the 75 largest U.S. cities included in the University of Illinois study, 12 reported the use of open data portals in 2011. That is a large jump from several years earlier when such portals were almost unheard of in local government; vendors can expect this trend to increase exponentially over the next five years throughout large and small state and local governments.
Still, we are just scratching the surface when it comes to the potential of G2C to meet the unique needs of state and local government. According to State Tech Magazine (which has a treasure trove of local government social media infographics that I cannot recommend highly enough), smartphone users will download more than 76 billion apps in 2014, and the app industry as a whole is expected to generate $55 billion of business by 2015. That graphic also does a fantastic job of showcasing some of the more innovative state and local G2C apps in the country, from the Sacramento, Calif., app that shows users the results of a restaurants latest food inspection; to Chicago’s Taxi Share app, which pairs up users heading in the same direction; to the city of Sparks, Nev., which has a mobile app guide to local stores, restaurants, hotels and events. Other graphics display the effective use of social media in public safety (Did you know that social media evidence used for a search warrant is accepted in court 87 percent of the time?) and show how big data analytic tools are changing the way governments approach and solve big challenges.
Social media use in emergency management
The other great early success of G2C interaction is in disaster and emergency management, where it has had a dramatic effect on how governments manage and coordinate their response to large-scale weather and public safety threats. Nowhere else is the ability to communicate back and forth between citizens and government more important than during a large-scale emergency, when traditional modes of communication may be down or overloaded. While social networking platforms are not entirely immune from these externalities, they do provide an excellent venue for micro-targeting a public safety organization’s response and identifying as well as prioritizing resource allocation to ensure maximum efficiency.
Twitter has proven to be an especially effective tool to this end, both because of its popularity across demographic lines and its simplified setup. According to a 2012 Pew report, Twitter usage among the ages of 18-44 range from 16-31 percent. That may not sound like much at first glance, but it is often more than enough people required to create an information “snowball effect” where advice and guidance can spread effectively throughout an affected population. That is also the age group most likely to be physically able to provide assistance to other citizens during an emergency. Think “pushing cars out of snow traps during a blizzard” or “going door to door to help evacuate elderly citizens in the aftermath of a flood.”
Source: “Social Media in State & Local Government: A New Paradigm for Engagement and Innovation”, Deltek 2012
Public safety organizations were among the first to realize the potential of integrating G2C communication into their operations, and it has changed the face of emergency response in some amazing ways. A 2009 report by the International City/County Management Association on local government social media use during emergencies illustrates the multitude of ways Web 2.0 has helped localities mitigate the damage of a disaster with both proactive and reactive examples provided. The report looks at a geographically diverse set of case studies by enterprising localities as they utilized Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare and text alerts to more effectively prepare and respond to floods, tornados, snowstorms, the H1N1 flu virus and other emergencies.
It is important to understand that the use of social media by emergency management and public safety agencies is not a one-way street. In addition to the G2C interactions, many public safety agencies provide forums on Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest to enable citizens to provide valuable information in a variety of areas. For instance, public safety agencies may receive information on emergency situations such as car accidents, robberies or other incidents that may leave the individual unable to make a phone call. Being able to tweet or send other messages to a public safety agency enables anyone to contact their local police agency, assuming they have a presence on social media.
For example, during Hurricane Sandy, the New York City 911 System was completely overloaded due to the receipt of 10,000 calls per hour. To put that in perspective, the city typically receives 1,000 calls per day. The use of social media tools during the hurricane skyrocketed with Instagram users posting 10 photos per second, leading a whopping 86,000 images in a 24-hour period. And this is just one of many social media sites.
This is not to say that these photos or other social media message directly saved lives, but the onslaught of information allows emergency management agencies to understand the who, what, when and where during an emergency.
When citizens can directly engage with public safety agencies, those agencies may find it necessary to utilize social media tools. In March 2012, Deltek looked at the possible rise of social media management software, which allows agencies to utilize social media for direct engagement with the community and to sift through information sent by the public. While this type of software system has not taken off across the country, it may become a necessity as more agencies utilize social media tools.
Social media use in higher education
According to a 2012 Pearson survey on social media by universities, nearly two-thirds of higher education faculty use social media on a monthly basis, and nearly half (45 percent) for professional purposes. When it came to social media use in the classroom, the number was significantly lower (a little more than one third), but in all cases there was a very strong age correlation, with younger professors reporting much higher rates of social media use than their older counterparts. This trend indicates that the overall proportion of professors and faculty incorporating social media into their curriculum should only increase as time goes on. Of the top Web 2.0 platforms used in class, blogs and wikis were the most prevalent, with podcasts and Facebook ranking second and third. Other popular platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter had very low usage rates, indicating that faculty has yet to figure out a proper teaching use for these sites.
Source: “How Today’s Higher Education Faculty Use Social Media”, Pearson and Babson Survey Research Group, 2012
As with governments, social media can also be utilized to great effectiveness during disaster or emergency management crises, such as severe weather or school shootings. After the infamous Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, a research group led by Leysia Palen of Educause documented how social networking was integral at disseminating information at almost every step in the immediate aftermath, from students using text and instant messaging check on the safety of their peers, to the use of IM and Facebook to spread breaking news to alumni and the outside world, to Wikipedia updates on the shootings just an hour after the university sent out its first emergency alert.
The result of all this social media activity, the authors argue, was a “distributed problem-solving” model that was “collective and bottom-up rather than orchestrated and top-down.” This allowed lists that correctly identified victims to emerge online well before the university officially released that information. The study also examined 29 Flickr groups across six different disasters from 2004-2007, and found a distinct pattern whereby a few central accounts began rapidly aggregating images of the disaster as well as the accompanying media coverage, providing on-the-ground coordination and reporting that would be almost impossible to reproduce with Web 2.0.
The greatest potential for contractor involvement is with opportunities around social media management software and applications that can supplement off-class learning and virtual learning environments. As a range of technological trends converge over the next five years (virtual learning, BYOD, online universities), the need to connect teachers, students and resources all from one device will only accelerate. Social media and social networking functions already have permanence in the marketplace, and they will only continue to become more integrated with the way people, governments and education institutions communicate and disseminate information in the future.
For more information on this topic, download the free summary of the Deltek Report on Social Media in State and Local Government, here.
Or go here if you want to purchase the report in full.
Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here  to learn more about Deltek’s GovWin IQ database and take advantage of a free trial.

Social Media Week: Future of civic crowdfunding for local government IT procurements

In the eyes of many government officials, social media is just another way to interact with constituents by sharing quick bites of information via Twitter and Facebook pages. I, myself, follow my local transportation department for updates on road closures and traffic delays, and “friended” my local elected representative to stay in the know of community happenings.
Now, social media is expanding its definition of citizen interaction to include accepting donations from the public to fund unbudgeted, yet fully vetted projects via the Internet, known as crowdfunding. This expanded use of social media has created opportunities for cash-strapped local governments seeking alternative sources of capital. By asking private citizens to support underfunded or unfunded government IT projects, it takes the burden off already tight budgets. This expanded form of social media has the potential to not only save taxpayer money and engage citizens, it can also reignite backlogged IT projects and upgrade obsolete infrastructure.
Crowdfunding in the private sector has become a mainstream success due in large part to websites like, which entrepreneurs and innovators use to solicit funds from individuals to advance their projects. Crowdfunding functions much like micro-financed venture capitalism, with individuals making online donations to support project pitches. It has prompted the creation of civic crowdfunding websites such as and, which only host projects submitted by local governments or official city partners. Much like information provided in government strategic and capital improvement plans, full project details are posted on these websites.
Currently, most of the projects featured on these civic crowdfunding sites are public works, public arts or economic development-related, but this concept is primed to expand.
As quoted from a article Jordan Raynor, co-founder of stated, “We’re really trying to focus on micro projects, that four- to five-figure range so we can have that early success, then scale up to larger projects in the future.” 
In the future, larger projects could include information technology, which often carries a higher price tag to implement.
Paint the Town Green has been the most effective example of a crowdfunded IT initiatives to date. A partnership between two cities – Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kansas, along with the Social Media Club of Kansas City – successfully raised enough money, via, for the inclusion of several low-income neighborhoods to participate in the roll out of a regional fiber optic installation provided by Google Fiber. The crowdfunding campaign helped close the “digital divide” for 10 low-income neighborhoods. The initial goal of $5,000 was surpassed with a total contribution of $11,136 from 111 donors in less than a month. The two cities contracted with Google Fiber Kansas LLC and Google Fiber Missouri LLC to complete the project by the end of 2013.
Civic crowdfunding websites could give vendors offering complementary services and goods a leg up in future government procurement opportunities. Vendors looking for creative ways to locate pre-RFP prospects to build their pipeline should include these social media websites in their research. As these sites grow in popularity with local governments, they could provide insight into the needs of participating governments; and as many business development representatives know, the stage at which a need has been identified by the government is often the time when government IT project managers, CIOs, and procurement officers are most receptive and transparent to vendors offering assistance.
For more information on this topic, download the free summary of the Deltek Report on Social Media in State and Local Government, here.
Or go here if you want to purchase the report in full.
Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek’s GovWin IQ database and take advantage of a free trial.




eHealth Initiative’s Annual Conference: moneyball and big data

As eHealth Initiative’s Annual Conference kicked off last Tuesday in Orlando, Fla., it was clear that the two-day event would offer a candid forum for health care leaders, state representatives and vendors to share the highs and lows, as well as what lies ahead in the ever-shifting world of health information technology.
eHealth Initiative Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Bordenick’s welcome address focused heavily on the perseverance the health care industry must have to achieve meaningful, lasting results. Despite major breakthroughs in innovation over the last several years, she said the industry is “starting to see some cracks around the edges.” Bordenick emphasized the uncertainty that surrounds health IT as well as the frustration felt by the private and public sector struggling to implement health care reform, ICD-10 and meaningful use amid strapped budgets and failed projects. She didn’t sugarcoat the introduction; the conference would be a place to discuss successes and pitfalls with “brutal honesty and humility.”
Still, Bordenick’s ultimate message was one of hope and encouragement. She took a few minutes to highlight a renowned group of political and cultural icons, all who experienced major defeats before breaking ground – Abraham Lincoln, Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, Michael Jordan and Jerry Seinfeld.
“It’s not about just getting it right,” said Bordenick. “It’s about perseverance – taking the time to get it right.”
In his keynote address, Optum’s Group Executive Vice President Andrew Slavitt discussed the opportunities and challenges of technology and big data. He said the good news is that the next generation of providers expects to use technology in their jobs instead avoiding it. The challenge is that geographic adoption of technology could get worse as more technologies are introduced, due to limited resources.
Slavitt said current health technologies are being built to fulfill the needs of the old world instead of the new, and emphasized the importance of understanding the needs of the dual eligible population – about 10 million Americans who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, and “whose health and social needs are at the root of almost everyone’s health care costs.”
According to Slavitt, the health care industry would benefit from adopting a moneyball approach to data analytics. For those unfamiliar with Michael Lewis’ book or the 2011 motion picture starring Brad Pitt, moneyball refers to how baseball’s Oakland Athletics used heavy analytics to assemble a team who went on to win a majority of games in 2001 on a limited budget. Instead of relying on typical batting averages and game statistics, the A’s professionalized data and analytics, and developed a data strategy.
Slavitt also noted that adoption and implementation of technology will accelerate once data speaks the language of margin and marketshare. He said with a moneyball approach and investment in health IT, keeping one in five dual eligible individuals in their homes instead of health institutions is an achievable goal, and one that would drastically reduce the $360 billion spent on their care.
In closing his address, Slavitt asked the crowd if big data was hype (more promise than will be realized), a fad (gone in five years), or a trend (true, lasting change). While the majority of the attendees believed big data to be a trend, Slavitt leaned toward hype. He said at this time, big data has a major lack of interoperability, standards, severity data, and linked data, all of which “hurts patient care” and “drains the usefulness out of data.” He said until a solution achieves these needed components, the risks of big data can be compared to “playing with fire.”
To read more about the eHealth Initiative Annual Conference, please read the full analyst recap.

Social media shows strong growth in state and local contracting

Click on the image above for a full-sized version.
State and local governments are using social media solutions for IT in virtually every area of government, according to a new report from Deltek.
The new report, Social Media in State & Local Government, a New Paradigm for Engagement and Innovation 2012, also suggests state and local governments will likely need help from contractors to do more, particularly in a handful of functions.
Analyzing opportunities from 2008 through 2012, Deltek shows particularly heavy social media use in higher education, general government, economic development, transportation, social services, and health care. Comparing state and local government solicitations from the third quarters of 2009 through the third quarter of 2012, Deltek analysts found strong growth and projected increased government solicitations through 2013.
For example:
·         In Health Care IT, government is looking to use social media to connect customers with service providers, and get feedback that will help improve customer service.
·         In Emergency Communications, governments are starting to integrate both third party platforms and their own emergency and disaster response software into systems that allow multi-directional emergency communication, including crowdsourcing disaster data. First responders in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy benefited from these systems in some areas.
·         In Educational Technology, schools are using social media to encourage engagement and manage class content. Higher education is building social media into student information systems, driving content and information among all members of the university communities.
·         Agency Human Resources professionals are turning increasingly to social media for both hiring and internal employee communications.
·         Transportation IT systems are using mobile applications to help citizens navigate public transit more easily.
Agencies have even turned toward social media for internal processes, managing service tickets for IT needs and facilities repairs, taking advantage of the anytime/anywhere collaboration of social media to streamline the work environment.

Governments are looking for help with using tried and true social media solutions, third party platforms, and integrating social media into their websites.

They are also looking to pay developers for purpose-built mobile apps with social media components that help government directly engage with citizens, deliver services, and gather data wherever citizens use government services, through their smart mobile devices.

In the short term, there will be opportunities to integrate social media into existing government enterprise applications. In particular, these will include health care IT, emergency communications, customer relations management educational technology, GIS/location-based, human resources, student information systems, and transportation IT.

In the long run, companies that can integrate mobile technologies into every IT solution will win contracts over those who can't.

Terms like "smart cities" and "smart government" win headlines for government officials – and sometimes win elections. Actually developing them, however will fall to industry. Companies that can deliver mobile apps that deliver improved services to citizens and gather data from them, and assist government in analyzing the big data that results from smart government efforts, will find a growing market in state and local government for years to come
This article was originally published on AOL Government.
Follow me on Twitter @GovWinCCotner.

Police Pinterest piqued

Deltek has covered the use of social media by state and local governments extensively, including a three-part blog series this past summer, a June report on social media, and many others. It is clear that Facebook and Twitter dominate the social media conversation when it comes to state and local governments; however, during Hurricane Sandy, the public safety social media spectrum shifted with increased use of Instagram to share pictures of the storm. Now, we are seeing another shift – this time, to Pinterest.
For those unfamiliar with Pinterest, the site describes itself as a way to “organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the Web.” It enables individuals to share discoveries with others by allowing everyone to connect “through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” You are probably wondering how state and local governments utilize this social media tool. The Philadelphia Police Department has an answer.
The Philadelphia Police Department has decided to take to Pinterest in an effort to post pictures of criminals at large. ThePhilly Pinterest page is divided into various divisions and provides mug shots and other pictures that citizens can view to help solve open cases. The department is definitely the first agency to try this tactic, but with 100 previous successful arrests using other social media platforms, there seems to be nothing to lose.
The city of Philadelphia isn’t just coming up with these ideas on a whim. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter opted to follow in the footsteps of Boston and establish an Office of New Urban Mechanics. The office will pilot and develop in-house applications, develop uses for social media and transform government to better the city. The idea is to create a more open government that allows inclusion from outside sources. Software and app developers can submit ideas that could be developed into tools to further help fight crime.
Analyst’s Take
There’s no denying public safety agencies’ creativity when it comes to utilizing social media. Though using Pinterest may come off as a bit odd, if any of the outstanding suspected criminals are brought to justice, it could be seen as a model to emulate in other cities. Social media, though used extensively across state and local governments, still has not become a standard. Innovative uses like that in Philadelphia will showcase how much good social media can do for state and local governments. 

Analyst Panel Discussion on Crime Technologies and Grants

While police officers are often categorized as crime helpers or crime solvers, their job has increasingly become about preventing crimes from happening in the first place. Officers are not alone in this effort as many departments are opting to purchase various technologies that are known to modify behavior and reduce crime. Surveillance systems, red-light cameras, and drones are increasingly being used to keep citizens in line, similar to physical police presence. The below video discusses the growing crime prevention market and provides tips on how vendors can work to increase their market share. The video also offers insight into what communities around the country are doing to pay for these new technologies.
Anyone with questions about this market is encouraged to submit inquiries to or through Twitter @GovWinPubSafety. The questions will be addressed in a follow-up blog.



Historically, personnel costs have consumed most law enforcement agencies’ budgets. Police employment continues to rise with population and will continue to drive the public safety market. Still, law enforcement agencies will continue to look at technology such as surveillance to supplement boots on the ground, increase public safety and achieve cost savings.
Police employment has risen more than 60 percent in the last 20 years – 200 percent at the federal level, and about 50 percent at the state and local level. A significant spike on the federal side can be attributed to the post 9/11 securitization that took place across the country. State and local growth can be attributed to general population increase. Over the past 20 years, three to four police personnel have been employed per 1,000 residents.
Some of the most well-known and understood technologies used to prevent crime are that of surveillance systems. Many cities have begun utilizing this technology to keep citizens safe, whether through the use of CCTV systems installed by agencies themselves, or through larger, more complex networks of both private and public security cameras that officers can access in the event of an emergency. 
Red-light cameras and speed cameras have also become increasingly common safety tools. Red-light cameras can be used by cities to both increase revenue and improve safety by placing them where a large number of accidents take place. 
Another method of enhancing safety is through the use of domestic drones. A multitude of vendors have already developed drones for use overseas, and the race is on to adapt them for domestic use in the coming years.
While surveillance systems certainly have many benefits, their usage is not without concern. Numerous civil liberties organizations, including the ACLU, have expressed concern with their usage and the security of data captured. With the likely increase in drone usage, this debate is not likely to cool down anytime soon.
Predictive Policing
Predictive policing has provided departments with a more innovative way to target criminal activity and utilize resources more efficiently. Predictive policing solutions including crime analytics and hot-spot identification allow departments to determine which areas are more susceptible to criminal activity as well as predict future occurrences. By receiving information in real time, departments are able to have a more proactive and less reactive approach to fighting crime, which leads to faster response times and increased arrests.
Predictive policing solutions are custom built to an agency’s infrastructure. By utilizing a complete solution, agencies can analyze different variables such as the nature of 911 calls received as well as the types of crimes reported in each location. This data is then further analyzed to identify crime patterns and problem areas to strategize officer deployments. Predictive policing can also incorporate the addition of new programs such as open-access networking, social media and gunshot detection location systems.
The market for predictive policing has grown over the past decade and will continue to be at the forefront of the public safety technology market, particularly for its ability to be linked with other data sources that feed into a real-time crime center including CCTV, GIS mapping software, and traffic monitoring equipment.
As agencies consider different ways to prevent crime, whether through new technologies like CCTV or with more police officers on the street, there will always be one constant: money. Agencies must find funding within capital budgets, general budgets, bonds or other sources. When these areas come up short, federal grants are also an option.
In fiscal year 2012 (FY12), the Department of Justice (DOJ) awarded more than $600 million in grants to agencies for crime prevention initiatives. It remains to be seen what type of funding levels will be made available to states in FY 13. The DOJ requested $1.8 billion for FY 13, $200 million less than in FY 12, and with the possibility of sequestration occurring on January 2, 2013, that request could be reduced significantly. State and local agencies must be prepared to deal with fewer grant dollars while at the same time figuring out how to best improve crime-prevention methods. The use of emerging technologies will be essential to every agency, large or small.
Questions about this video can be submitted to or through Twitter @GovWinPubSafety.






On the Precipice: Big Data Will Change Everything

As we wrap up our soon-to-be published report on Big Data, I can’t help but think about how profoundly technology will change our world in the years ahead.  Big Data will drive great changes, but what kind will depend on what we do with it. No agency can afford to do Big Data just for the sake of organizing their data. The cost of capturing, managing, processing, storing, and analyzing data is just too high to not have a sufficient payoff in terms of the value that the data produces.

It has to yield real, actionable results that create substantial value to be worth doing. For example:
· Finding a cure for cancer
· Discovering how best to manage diabetes to dramatically improve health and lower costs
· Finding energy sources in our galaxy
· Finding ways to avoiding loss of life from a natural disaster
· Identifying and capturing terrorist before they strikes, and
· Helping make American industries more competitive in world markets and creating jobs.
The value of big data is in the knowledge, wisdom, quality of decisions it enables, and the impact of actions that can be taken as a result of harnessing the power of data. Information is power in that it produces wisdom for good governance.
But the power that Big Data will create must be contemplated within an important cultural and ethical context. There is no doubt that Big Data analytics will and has already opened up a Pandora’s box of ethical questions about the role of government. The recent public concerns about domestic use of drones and potential for infringement on the privacy, liberties, and constitutional rights of individual citizens, is an example. Michael Stonebraker, an MIT electrical engineering and computer science professor specializing in database research, also sees the dark side. "Privacy is going to be a huge issue [with big data] and it's largely going to be a political issue,” he said in an InformationWeek article entitled “Why Big Is Bad When It Comes To Data” (July 19, 2012).
President Eisenhower foresaw this day and, in his farewell address to the nation on January 17, 1961, he expressed concern that our national resources of human innovation and science and technology, if left to market forces concerned only with maximizing profit with no regard for ethical, just, and righteous uses and the impact on generations to come, would cause the deterioration of the very things that have made this nation great. It serves us well to remember what he said:
“In…the technological revolution during recent decades,….research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system – ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.”
Recommendation: As vendors pursue federal big data business they stand on the precipice of a whole new world. No one can afford for them to get lost in the data and not be mindful of their responsibilities in shaping the future for upcoming generations. Vendors would be well-served, and will serve the federal government’s interests and that of the people it represents, by reading Eisenhower’s speech in full and keeping always in mind the things they were challenged and charged with in their college Business Ethics class.




Hurricane Sandy: FEMA, social media and first responders

As states along the East Coast begin cleanup efforts from one of the most destructive storms in history, we examine how Hurricane Sandy stands out compared to other recent weather catastrophes. During previous national disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, there was no Twitter or Instragram that put breaking news in the hands of civilians. People around the world had to wait patiently by their TVs and computers for the latest images of New Orleans completely underwater, or devastating earthquake damage in Haiti. Despite widespread Internet use and the growing use of smartphones, news still wasn’t quite instant.
Yesterday, in the face of one of the biggest natural disasters to hit the East Coast, people took pictures, shot videos, sent tweets, and posted to Facebook, all in real time. According to Mashable, Instagram users posted 10 Hurricane Sandy photos per second. Photos coming in at 60 a minute and 3,600 per hour provided more than 86,000 images in a 24-hour period. And this is just one of many social media sites.
While it is difficult to quantify how these pictures, tweets, Facebook messages, etc. affected the response times of first responders, or how many lives were saved, it is clear that news stations and first responders benefit from seeing where an emergency is in real time. In Manhattan, the 911 system was completely overloaded due to the receipt of 10,000 calls per hour; the city typically receives 1,000 per day. Using social media tools to send emergency images to news stations or police Twitter accounts was essential and will continue to be a vital component in rescue efforts.
Another piece of the puzzle that must be examined is that of disaster-relief funding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided coordinated disaster relief across the United States since 1978. Though the powers bestowed upon FEMA have changed, it is still a regional agency that not only coordinates relief, but provides funding to state and local governments to support restoration and other emergency efforts. While many people have differing views on what FEMA should provide as a sub-agency of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), after large-scale disasters like that of Superstorm Sandy, local governments need help. Should funding be provided by states themselves? Should FEMA, with its larger infrastructure, be the one to determine the funding provided after a natural or other disaster? I’ll let you decide.
When looking at funding levels in recent years, you will see a clear downward trend. Over the past two years, there has been a 43 percent reduction in FEMA grants that pay for disaster preparedness. Additionally, should sequestration occur in January 2013 as planned, an additional 8.2 percent of disaster relief would be cut. One point in favor of letting FEMA provide emergency services and funds is that states in the red don’t have any funds for large-scale restoration. On the other hand, should the federal government sink deeper in debt to help? Again, it’s a matter of opinion.
As we look back on Hurricane Sandy months and years from now, the widespread destruction and loss of lives will be on many people’s minds, but we should also not forget the outpouring of social media response that curtailed even greater damage. State and local governments can now inform citizens instantly about closures and other situations that require real-time information. Disaster relief and rescue will never be the same.


Take-Aways from TTC's Military Cyber Security Conference

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a multi-day conference in the Washington, DC area on the topic of Military Cyber Security hosted by the Technology Training Corporation. The topics that were covered ranged from the nature and degree of the threat to what military and other entities are doing to address the threat currently and what is needed going forward. Throughout the conference one thing became clear – while much has been done already . . . there is much more that needs doing and time is not on our side.
As you might expect, the conference agenda included presenters from Department of Defense (DoD), the service branches, Joint Forces Command, and others, but also presenting were representatives from the Department of Homeland Security and the Intelligence Community – including the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Administration. Finally, the roster was rounded out with some White House advisory committee members and cyber-focused think tanks, education/awareness associations and vendors. Given the breadth and pace of the agenda kudos go out to Marcus Min and the TTC staff for conducting a very well-organized event.
Some Take-Aways
While listening to and talking with the presenters and other attendees, several themes emerged.   A few of the key topics and take-aways include:
  • Changing Perceptions of Security – The creativity, persistence and resourcefulness of those attacking the cyber infrastructure effectively means that no defenses are full-proof, or ever will be. Your infrastructure will be penetrated at some point and striving to prevent that completely is a losing battle. Agencies need to adopt a risk management perspective to be ready, respond, and recover effectively from attack. Agencies also need to embed security at multiple levels of their organizations and infrastructures, including at the data level.
  • Cyber Landscape is Changing – The explosion of social media, mobile technologies, and adoption of cloud computing has fundamentally changed the threat landscape. The rate of technology change has outpaced our security policy and approaches and that is the new status quo. These technologies, as well as sensor proliferation, will continue to explode the quantity of data available for attack and exploitation.
  • Offensive Capabilities – Here the theme of “a good offense is your best defense” rings true. Taking some of the tools and tradecraft (e.g. penetration testing) that have their origin in cyber defense and turning them in an outward direction toward our adversaries can be an effective approach. There are several parallels here with strong deterrence through strong offensive capabilities. Some of the challenges include maturing the military rules of engagement (ROEs) and addressing the policies and legalities on what private infrastructure owners can do to self-protect.
  • Military Cyber Workforce Development – There is much to be done to effectively train and equip military and civilian personnel for cyber defense, and warfare. The tradecraft has developed organically from various directions resulting in a very fragmented and narrowly-defined concept of cyber warrior based on each service branch’s individual needs and perspective. A more uniform and collaborative definition of the necessary skills and experience is needed to effectively build the workforce of the future.
  • Presidential Executive Order (EO) – While there has been quite a bit of buzz in the federal trade press about the likelihood and content of an EO the general perspective among attendees and speakers was that any such release would not likely come before the November presidential election to avoid the appearance of being blatantly political. Some were doubtful it would be issued at all, given the opinion expressed by some in press accounts that what they’ve seen from the White House lacks real teeth. 
  • Cyber Legislation – The flurry of cyber security bills that were introduced in this Congress – some passing the House and dying in the Senate and some introduced in the Senate but not gaining enough support to move forward – are basically dead, but some of the ideas may be revived later. It is possible, although it seems unlikely, that a bill could get picked up in the lame duck session. 
  • Effective Cyber Policy – Numerous presenters cautioned against any legislation, policy or EO that would take a predominantly regulatory approach to cyber and critical infrastructure protection. One of the arguments is that the rapidly changing pace of technology and the constantly morphing nature of the threat mean that any regulations instituted by Congress or the White House would be outdated even before enactment and then tie the hands of agencies and companies to effectively respond.
Since information technology permeates almost every area of our personal and shared lives it seems less like hyperbole to say that cyber security has shaped up to be one of the defining issues of our time. Its prominence in the public mindset will only increase with each incident reported in the news. Those charged with providing for the common defense see the threat and are striving to meet the challenge.


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