10 Government Innovations Your Business Can Use - InformationWeek

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10/2/2015
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10 Government Innovations Your Business Can Use

Government and innovation are not words we often use in the same sentence. Yet, government scientists and engineers are working hard to develop many cool things. Is your business looking in the right places for products and services? These innovations could offer you a new place to start.
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(Image: Architect of the Capitol via Whitehouse.gov)

(Image: Architect of the Capitol via Whitehouse.gov)

Governments run on technology. That's been true since the technology in question was cuneiform on clay tablet. Modern governments certainly depend on technology to support nearly every facet of their operation. Thousands of businesses depend on technology developed by government scientists and engineers for all or part of their enterprise.

Technology developed and used by US government agencies runs the gamut from systems that can improve office worker productivity to products that let you take a joyride on Mars. In those cases, though, and in the case of most things between the extremes, technology developed by the government is available to everyone. People could take much greater advantage of the technology than they usually do.

When most of us think about government technology, two spheres of activity come to mind: One is the military, the other the space program. Both are, indeed, chock-full of technology, but they're far from the only technologically savvy parts of the government. I wanted to take a look at some other parts of the US government to see where they stand in terms of the technology they develop, use, and make available to the rest of us.

[ How will we connect tomorrow? Read 8 Smart Cities: A Peek At Our Connected Future. ]

It's important to note that I'm not going to cover military applications at all in this article. There are a number of reasons for that, one of the most important being that a lot of the really cool stuff would require all of us to have clearance for classified information. While I am looking across the US government, I can't promise that I won't touch at least a bit on NASA: Some of its tech is far too cool to ignore.

There have been debates about whether the government should be involved in the development of technology since such work began (a long, long time ago). That debate should continue -- somewhere else. Here, let's just appreciate the work that the scientists and engineers have accomplished and discuss how the technology might be useful for our organizations. We can also mention that we might like to have one of the units at home.

Some of the technologies you'll see here you already know about. Others might be new to you. In either case, the uses we found might provide inspiration for new projects -- or solutions for problems that have been vexing you. Let us know what you think about the tech we found and how it might find a home in your next project.

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Analyst at Omdia, focusing on enterprise security management. Curtis has been writing about technologies and products in computing and networking since the early 1980s. He has been on staff and contributed to technology-industry publications ... View Full Bio

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