Traditional Government Contractors Teaming with Commercial Tech Giants Like Google and Apple

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Recently, we’ve joined the ranks of the techno cool by acquiring iPad 3Gs.  Since then, we’ve pushed the boundaries of what these things can do for actual work (in addition to the mindless fun).  We love them.   As we’ve naturally showed off our new toys and discussed our purchases with others, we’ve noticed a bit of buzz from contractors and agencies surrounding these and other new “consumer” gadgets.   It has made us wonder how quickly government agencies and contractors will jump on new personal productivity technologies as standard issue.

Apparently we’re not alone as an article in the Washington Post discusses how contractors are looking to team with consumer tech giants to solve problems traditionally relegated to internal IT departments.  The article points out how Google Federal is partnering with Unisys to offer a services program that would include IP-based e-mail, calendar and collaboration tools. Prior to this, the company teamed with federal contractor CSC to offer a search application for the Defense Department and with Lockheed Martin on geospatial products.  Unisys’s federal division is partnering with Google and working to secure Apple iPhones and iPads for government use.  Unisys  says it is readying a secure “sandbox” feature that would partition government data from other data on these devices.

Apparently, technology consumers who are employees of government agencies are driving the demand for applications that work on their personal devices (with which they are already comfortable).  This is an interesting reversal where traditionally, IT departments and requirements drove the delivery means.

It will be interesting to watch how these technologies continue to morph from personal fun machines to serious work horses.  Just please don’t expect me to stop listening to my classic 80’s music collection while playing Paper Toss, at least occasionally.


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