Mobile
News
5/29/2012
06:05 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

TSA Buys Into iPhones, iPads

Transportation Security Administration budgets $3 million for iPhones, iPads, and other Apple gear for IT security testing, mobile app development, and other uses.

10 Great iPad Apps From Uncle Sam
10 Great iPad Apps From Uncle Sam
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) plans to buy up to $3 million worth of Apple products and services, including 1,000 Macs and 1,000 iPhones, iPads, and iPods, following a pilot test last year of Apple equipment.

According to a public solicitation posted last week, TSA plans to use the products for a variety of purposes, from printing marketing material and producing video to IT security testing and developing mobile applications for public consumption.

TSA primarily uses Windows-based computers and RIM BlackBerry devices to fill most of those needs, according to the agency's request for information. The Apple products will help to fill a "capability gap," according to the document. TSA has issued a separate RFI for the acquisition of Google Android-based devices.

The agency tested several dozen Apple iOS devices last year. It's now looking to expand that to several hundred devices and had identified 15 use cases. Among the potential users are bomb appraisers and behavior detection officers. TSA says it's following "the public-driven demand for more mobility."

The agency wants to be able to use free and inexpensive off-the-shelf mobile applications, including those available through Apple's AppStore. It identified Google Translate and airline and weather apps as among those that could potentially help the agency meet the government's objective of using new technologies to operate more efficiently.

[ Learn more about the feds' mobility push. Read 3 Goals Of White House 'Digital Government' Plan. ]

TSA said it needs Apple hardware and software to enable it to update its MyTSA iPhone application, which has been downloaded more than 250,000 times. With an eye on developing new iOS applications, the agency is looking to acquire Apple's Xcode development environment and the developer licenses necessary for posting to the AppStore.

TSA's RFI illustrates growing demand for mobile devices in general--and Apple products in particular--across federal government.

In March, the Air Force Mobility Command awarded a $9.36 million contract for up to 18,000 iPad 2s, and in April the Federal Aviation Administration said it would expand a pilot iPad program to more employees. Other federal agencies supporting iPads and other Apple gear include the Department of the Interior, Department of Veterans Affairs, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the Army.

Big data places heavy demands on storage infrastructure. In the new, all-digital Big Storage issue of InformationWeek Government, find out how federal agencies must adapt their architectures and policies to optimize it all. Also, we explain why tape storage continues to survive and thrive.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Elite 100
InformationWeek Elite 100
Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and trends on InformationWeek.com
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.