NASA CTOs open to 'bring your own device'


There were mixed feelings last month when the federal chief information officer proposed giving federal workers a $2,000 subsidy to buy their own laptops and smartphones.

Some balked at the idea and raised concerns that security would be at stake. But federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s proposal isn’t exactly far-fetched.

When NASA asked several of its chief technology officers where NASA technology is headed over the next five years, mobile computing took center stage.

James McClellan, CTO at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, said “I don’t think it’s much of a leap to say that 5 years from now the average NASA employee will be using a mobile computing platform that is essentially a nice display with a browser connected to all their content and social connections through the ubiquitous ‘cloud.’”

McClellan added that “employees may even be supplying their own preferred device (Bring Your Own Device-BYOD), enabled by the ability for NASA applications to be securely used on even a personal device via mobile app management profiles.”

Kundra has made it clear, the marriage of mobile applications and mobile environments will be “hardwired in the DNA of any new system that’s actually developed.”

At NASA, the use of smartphone technology skyrocketed from 5,300 connected devices in January 2010 to 11,300 the same time this year. In NASA’s monthly publication from the Office of the CIO, agency managers had this to say about mobile computing:

Mobile device management technology will continue to improve, enabling NASA to secure, monitor, and manage corporate data on both Government-issued and employee owned devices. Tablets will continue to gain acceptance in NASA with increased vendor diversity, though Apple will remain the leader.


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