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2011: 4G Technology Set to Change the Work Force (Opinion)

New CIOs also poised to shake up government.

Welcome to the dawning of another year. The holidays are behind us, Christmas trees are turning brown, and it’s time to take the lights down, put away the decorations and get back to business. The new year, of course, is traditionally a time of optimism. It’s the annual clean slate on which we can start fresh and start improving, personally and professionally. But like so many resolutions, the day-to-day realities of the economy, budgets, staffing and the like, will lay waste to more than a few of the good intentions with which we start the year.

Still, 2011 promises to deliver plenty of surprises. A bumper crop of fresh CIOs promise (threaten?) to shake up the public-sector IT establishment and continue redefining what it means to be a chief information officer. Similarly a host of new governors will undoubtedly lead to some dramatic changes — for good or ill — in statewide enterprise technology.

In terms of technology, the cloud, fourth-generation wireless and mobile devices will be poised to truly transform the work force. As Verizon, AT&T and others roll out their own 4G wireless networks (Sprint already has one, and I’ve been using it for months. Ha!) and mobile broadband speeds ramp up to 5-10 Mbps, there’s no telling what new innovation may spring from such capabilities. Just as broadband changed the way we used the Web at home, 4G wireless may signal another revolution.

Here at Government Technology we’re also shaking things up. In the year ahead, look for a new feature or two to be added to our website. We’re also going to broaden the scope of what Government Technology covers. When this magazine first printed in 1987, technology in the public sector meant almost exclusively information technology because IT was the leading edge. That was the case for many years. But now, as utility meters, freeways and even the buildings we work in are online, we’ll look beyond just IT and begin a new conversation about energy, sustainability, transportation, infrastructure and more technology in the public sector. There’s a lot to be excited about and to better understand.

Last, I’d like to introduce two regularly featured columnists. Steve Ressler, the president and founder of, the premier social media site for government employees. And Mark Weatherford, the former chief information security officer of California and current vice president and chief security officer of the North American Electric Reliability Corp. He may look familiar to readers of our sister publication Public CIO, where he wrote the Security Adviser column. We look forward to reading their thoughts on the changing technology landscape and hope you do as well.


Chad Vander Veen previously served as the editor of FutureStructure, and the associate editor of Government Technology and Public CIO magazines.