Way Beyond Wireless: Planning for 5G

Posted by Bill Zielinski
on July 30, 2019

Every generation of wireless technology has enabled new business models, increased our connectivity, and changed our lives in unimaginable ways. 5G is poised to do the same. 5G enabled devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) will allow huge numbers of sensors and devices to gather incredible amounts of  data and transmit the data at remarkable speeds over wide distances. We are going to see a new wave of information enabled in government and industry. Instead of your phone or laptop acting as the processor, it will sit inside the edge of the 5G infrastructure. This will allow things like driverless vehicles and telemedicine.

5G will provide the digital infrastructure that will shape the quality of life of most of the earth’s population. Yes, it will load web pages and play videos on your phone 10 to 20 times faster than 4G. Mobile devices will spend less time processing data, which will consume less power, which will result in extended battery life. But these are little advances compared to what is possible.

The true potential is how the technology can quickly transfer data between devices in lots of different ways. That ability means it will replace cable and WiFi networks in homes, offices, campuses, military bases, and even whole cities.

What does 5G mean for government?

Because it enables the IoT, 5G is one of the more important emerging technologies. Thanks to 5G’s flexibility, every level of government will use 5G as IoT enters the public sector. Consider these applications:

  • Replacing outdated telecommunications and network technology in public buildings and facilities. 
  • Allowing for advanced automation and security processes at logistics centers and the nation’s ports. 
  • Supporting augmented and virtual reality (VR) applications in our national laboratories. 
  • Monitoring regional and interstate entities power grids to keep pace with fluctuating demands.
  • Providing traffic control and managing fleets of self-driving vehicles in cities.

U.S. policy considers 5G a strategic national asset, and the legislative and executive branches are actively working to reallocate spectrum for its use. The National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) is developing standards and testing 5G technologies. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is focusing on cybersecurity threats unique to 5G. Recently, the White House issued an executive order to proactively create and secure commercial supply chains in a 5G future. 

How can my agency get 5G?

We are uniquely positioned to fulfill our customers’ needs and help prepare for 5G implementation.

GSA’s Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract and Schedule 70’s SIN 132-53 Wireless Mobility Solutions both cover 5G services and infrastructure. Alliant 2 GWAC and Connections II cover infrastructure only.

What’s next?

We’ll be explaining how 5G works, how it will be deployed, and the steps we’re taking to deliver it to our customers. We’ll soon release a white paper outlining our approach to 5G implementation.

On October 3, we’re hosting a 5G Technology Customer Event, where we’ll address how 5G makes concepts like network slicing and edge computing possible. Email wireless@gsa.gov to get on the invite list.  

Join the conversation on Twitter @GSA_ITC and LinkedIn.

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FAR Rule Change Makes Buying IT Quicker

Posted by Bill Zielinski
on July 9, 2019

Recent changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) now make it easier for federal agencies to use GSA contract vehicles or assisted acquisition solutions to fulfill their IT needs.

Effective June 5, 2019, GSA, with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), issued a final FAR rule amendment, previously implemented in FAR 17.502-1(a). It uses section 875 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to amend section 865 of the Duncan Hunter NDAA for fiscal year 2019.

In the past, the FAR required agencies to go through an extra step to justify the use of GSA’s IT Schedule 70, Government-wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs), or assisted acquisition solutions as the best procurement approach to fulfill IT acquisition needs.

Rule Change Benefits

This FAR rule change removes this step in the acquisition process. Federal customers now face reduced administrative burdens, making it quicker and easier to buy IT solutions through GSA.

Specific impacts of this rule change include:

  1. removing the requirement to justify the best procurement approach if issuing orders against contracts under the GSA Schedules Program such as IT Schedule 70, or through GWACs such as 8(a) STARS 2 and Alliant 2; and
  2. removing the requirement to justify the best procurement approach if using GSA for assisted acquisitions.

End-of-FY Spending

As a result, this rule change removes burdens from federal customers. They can now identify and quickly use GSA IT Category (ITC) contracts and acquisition solutions, especially as they embark on their end-of-year IT spending and acquisition efforts.

What We Offer

Our contracts and acquisition solutions are dedicated to providing federal agencies with a full range of IT and telecommunications products, services, and solutions. We maximize customer value and mission productivity.

We support 98% of federal agencies, facilitating more than $24 billion in IT purchases annually. Our customers have saved nearly $2 billion from using our solutions.

Best-in-Class Fair

We currently offer 10 acquisition vehicles that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has labeled as Best in Class (BIC). Our BIC acquisition solutions include hardware, software, telecommunications, and professional services.

Come meet our BIC representatives at OMB’s Best in Class Fair on July 11, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Sign up now!

To find the contract solution that’s right for you, use our IT Solutions Navigator.

Please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITC and LinkedIn to join our ongoing conversations about government IT.

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