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Mobility, BYOD Expected to Benefit Federal Workforce

A recent study uncovered how a mobile federal workforce is one that is more productive and cost-effective

It seems it's in the best interest of the U.S. government to have its employees hit the road.

A recent study uncovered how a mobile federal workforce is one that is more productive and cost-effective. But getting from here to there, however, proves challenging.

Federal agencies and taxpayers benefit from a mobile federal workforce, but outdated infrastructure restricts mobile potential and productivity gains, according to a survey by MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT.

The study indicated federal employees are taking advantage of the flexibility mobility offers, with 81 percent of federal employees surveyed connecting to work remotely at least once a week, while 54 percent connect at least once a day, and 45 percent connect several times a day, according to an article on eWEEK.com.

"Federal employees are increasingly unplugging from their desktops and using mobile devices to connect to work," Anthony Robbins, vice president of Brocade's federal division, said in a statement. "Not only is mobile connectivity what federal workers want, it can provide substantial productivity gains to federal agencies. Just as large commercial companies have been doing for years, agencies should enable mobile connectivity. They need to embrace the growth in the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend by investing in and deploying modern infrastructure improvements that deliver seamless connectivity, improved access and increased speed of service."

Federal workers estimate they would gain an average of seven hours of additional productivity per week by having seamless remote connectivity and mobile access to their agency. The report said this equates to 364 additional hours of productivity -- or nearly $14,000 in productivity gains per federal employee per year.

Apple iPhone 5S: The New Gold Standard?
In just a few short weeks, Apple, poised to show off its next iPhone variation, will reveal if something gold can stay.

Reports of what the next iPhone might feature are growing as summer nears its end. One of the more interesting ideas to sprout up is the notion of a gold-colored iPhone. Apple may add a new shade to its iPhone lineup for the first time since white became an option, according to an article on InformationWeek.com.

The notion of a gold device first cropped up several weeks ago, when some purported iPhone 5S components leaked. Last week, snippets of code suggested the same thing. Apple code has been known to contain strands of the coming-truth long before products are revealed in full. Over the weekend, TechCrunch contributor M.G. Siegler confirmed that a gold iPhone 5S will be a reality.

The next-generation iPhone will be more or less identical to the iPhone 5 in design and outward appearance, say multiple reports. The screen, shape and size will be unchanged from the iPhone 5.

According to InformationWeek's Eric Zeman, this is a pattern into which Apple has fallen with its iPhone upgrades. If the iPhone 5S looks the same as the iPhone 5, it might not generate much interest with buyers. Most people know that if they wait for another year, Apple will have a brand new, and hopefully more appealing, piece of hardware for sale. Adding the gold option may provide just enough enticement to convince some buyers to upgrade this year rather than next.

Apple is expected to reveal the next-generation iPhone at an event on Sept. 10.

GM to Offer In-Car Wireless Smartphone Charging
Commuters, here's something that might give you a charge: General Motors plans to offer wireless smartphone charging in some 2014 models.

The technology will be available in some vehicles next year, said Ran Poliakine, CEO of Powermat Technologies.

Instead of plugging in cables to replenish battery power, drivers of some 2014 GM models will be able to place mobile devices onto a Powermat surface inside the car to draw electricity. Phones must be capable of recharging via built-in technology, or use a case designed for the purpose, according to an article on AutoNews.com.

GM, an investor in Powermat, would be the first carmaker to build the company's technology into its models, Poliakine said.

GM is competing with Toyota Motor Corp., which included a rival system in the 2013 Avalon, and Chrysler Group, which is offering the feature in some 2013 Dart compact cars and on the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, which goes on sale this fall.

Global shipments of wirelessly charging devices are projected to rise to almost 100 million by 2015 from 5 million units last year, according to IHS.

"The car is a major part of life for everyone with a smartphone," Poliakine said. "And this is taking care of that part of life."

More Stories By Patrick Burke

Patrick Burke is a writer and editor based in the greater New York area and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

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