To a lot of people, Intel conjures up those little Intel stickers you see on laptops, Ultrabooks, two-in-ones, tablets and desktop computers. And that would be right as Intel provides the processor that makes the magic happen in most of those devices. However, the company has been working directly with the federal government for years to help agencies make informed decisions about their IT strategies. And in 2012, the company launched Intel Federal, LLC to expand its business to the realm of government contracting. WashingtonExec recently spoke with Jason Kimrey, Area Director, U.S. Federal at Intel, about the technology provider’s work with the federal government.
“What people don’t know about Intel is that we power more than 95 percent of the world’s servers and provide the underlying technology of many cloud and mobile technologies deployed by government agencies,” said Kimrey. “Agencies often have very specific requirements, and having a direct relationship with Intel is helpful from a research, design, engineering, and IT planning standpoint. We have been focused on developing these relationships with government agencies and leaders for years and have found the relationships to be mutually beneficial. In fact, based on our discussions and understanding of what is important to the federal government technical computing requirements, we have engaged in several projects in the area of high performance computing to ensure we are providing optimized solutions and technologies for mission requirements.”
For Intel’s federal team, the strategy is focused on aligning Intel technologies to the key missions or IT challenges facing government customers today. “From a federal standpoint, we’ve segmented our activities into a few specific areas, including mobility, cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), technical computing and big data.”
“We’ve tried to align our technology with the problems agencies are trying to solve and to map our capabilities to those challenges.”
The areas Intel is concentrating on are some of the most rapidly-changing and challenging areas in government technology today. “On the mobility side, we’re still in a budget-constrained environment, and I think people are trying to solve their mission requirements without creating more complexity, at least where they can avoid it,” said Kimrey.
“One of the trends we’ve seen is that agencies are turning to mobile devices in a variety of form factors, especially as the PC has become more mobile and new devices like two-in-ones and detachables are ideal for many use cases. Whether for field inspections, military recruiting, or mobile workers in general, people are looking at how they can buy one device to provide them with the most value.”
Two-in-one devices benefit agencies like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), whose mission takes them from the office to the field on a regular basis. Recently ATF adopted Windows 8 tablets that run on Intel technology from Dell.
“With a device like that, you get the security and the manageability features, integrated CAC card readers and TAA compliance that agencies require and also the mobility and long battery life people need when they work in the field,” said Kimrey.
Of course, untethering technology from the confines of an office raises security concerns for some agencies. As one of the most ubiquitous technology companies in the world, Intel technology is a key part of many security solutions.
“Security is one of Intel’s key pillars, and we view it as one of our fundamental roles as a supplier to the computing ecosystem.”
“Given our large footprint, we aim to provide the most secure platform that we can, but we can’t do it alone,” Kimrey explained. “Security requires an ecosystem of software, hardware and processors. However, you can have the best technology in the world, but without the right people and processes in place, you’re just not going to solve all the problems that exist, especially considering the complexity of most security problems.”
Intel is also involved in identity security and the government’s work on making the use of derived credentials a reality. “We’re embedding Intel’s Identity Protection Technology into a variety of mobile devices to enable multi-factor authentication in the field so you know that the user accessing the system is the intended user. Additionally, three years ago we acquired McAfee, which is now known as Intel Security. We’ve made enhancements in their software to help users meet their security requirements, and we’re working with key partners like Microsoft, VMware and others to further enhance the security of their platforms.”
We cannot talk about security without mentioning IoT, which threatens to turn everything we know about security on its head. Intel is prepared to help government clients meet IoT challenges head-on.
“When you talk about IoT, you’re talking about doubling the number of connected devices in the field in pretty short order, and I think a lot of that is because the definition of a device is changing,” said Kimrey. “It’s not just a phone or a laptop or a server — it’s a sensor, and when you’re putting lots and lots of sensors out on the market that are connected to an IP address, it creates an inherent security risk.”
Intel is looking at all aspects of the IoT ecosystem. “Our initial focus in IoT is around standards,” said Kimrey. “Achieving a better security posture starts with having standard architectures that enable systems to connect to each other. We’ve been working with NIST as well as some private consortiums, to look at just that. Intel is built on open standards and architectures, and we certainly want to bring the same approach to the IoT ecosystem.”
Kimrey also shared some details about Intel’s work on modernization efforts for the United States Postal Service (USPS). Along with SGI, Intel is working on real-time analytics requirements to address fraud detection without slowing down the USPS sorting platforms.
“The Postal Service is always looking at how they can better compete with the private sector and create new revenue opportunities through things like Sunday and same-day delivery. Intel is providing the technology that helps reduce cost and drives those revenue opportunities.”
Intel’s work with USPS provides an example of approaching technology with a problem-solving focus. With USPS and other agencies, Kimrey says, “They’re not buying technology because it’s the latest and greatest processor. They’re buying technology to solve a problem, and our goal is to work with partners to create the right solutions for government.”
When Kimrey isn’t busy transforming USPS, ATF and other government agencies through technology, you can often find him on the water near his home in Annapolis. “I’ve got two little girls and a wife, and we like to get out on the water and fish, go boating, and do lots of different things like that. I also run triathlons in my spare time and enjoy traveling. Last summer, we had the opportunity to travel to Europe.”
Working at Intel gives Kimrey the opportunity to enjoy these pursuits, as the company offers employees an eight-week sabbatical for every seven years worked at the company. Kimrey is due for his second sabbatical with Intel soon. “Seven years ago we took our then-five-month-old to New Zealand for eight weeks. Now that I’ve been at Intel for 14 years, I’m eligible for my next sabbatical and currently planning where we’re going to go next summer.”