Following the lead of Microsoft, computer titan IBM will open a computer science lab aimed at the government sector in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington. The company anticipates bringing together IBM staff with public sector employees to develop solutions for homeland security and e-government.
The announcement of IBM's Government Solutions Center comes six weeks after Microsoft held an opening ceremony for its new $25 million telecommunications facility in Reston, Va. In addition to secure communications, the 63,000-square-foot Microsoft facility houses 25 conference rooms, a government solutions center, a technology lab and capacity of more than 1,000 people.
The IBM facility will serve government agencies interested in streamlining, coordinating and protecting government operations. Visitors can research new software, and the ways in which it can work with existing technology investments. IBM will work with customers and partners to combine software, hardware and services for government-to-government, government-to-business, government-to-citizen and government-to-employee initiatives.
It will also serve as a resource for educating government IT employees about lowering costs and increasing data security with Linux, and increasing compatibility between disparate computer programs with Web services and open standards. Other applications will highlight how public and private portals on the Web can help governments communicate with employees and citizens through dynamic workplaces and e-government portals.
The new facility rounds out a set of IBM resources for customers in Washington, including the company's Institute for Electronic Government (IEG), a think-tank for public sector leaders that focuses on e-government public policy; technology strategy and execution; online citizen and business services; and e-democracy. As sister organizations, the IEG and the Government Solutions Center will share resources.
The Government Solutions Center is the latest in a collection of IBM "proof-of-concept" centers situated around the world. Other laboratories in North Carolina, Texas, Japan and Germany, test and develop industry-tailored applications for large-scale integration projects, data warehousing and high volume Web site performance exercises.