Steve Ballmer’s FOSE Keynote Describes Technology’s Critical Role In Redefining Government Services

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2000 — At his keynote address today at FOSE, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft Corp. president and CEO, discussed solutions Microsoft has created that help the government take advantage of the enormous advances in technology and improve the delivery of its services. In his remarks, delivered to an audience of government IT professionals, Ballmer outlined four areas where strategic information technology will help redefine the government: information and technology that is accessible to everyone, personal constituent services, empowered government knowledge workers, and efficiency through digital operations.

“In the past three years, Microsoft has boosted its resources focused on government standards and resources,”
said Ballmer.
“We’re committed with you to helping more citizens access government information and enabling better services that will make a difference.”

In the next five years, the nation will witness an explosion in information technology spending and services that will allow citizens to have an online relationship with the government, Ballmer said.

Technology That Is Accessible to Everyone

Ballmer discussed Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to developing products and information technologies that are accessible and usable by all people. He highlighted the accessibility features built into the Microsoft® Windows® 2000 operating system, and showcased the EZ Access Portable Interactive Kiosk, a kiosk developed by Quad Media and built on Windows technology to enable people with a range of disabilities to vote unassisted.

As part of Microsoft’s continued outreach to disability organizations around the country, Ballmer announced that Microsoft is donating a total of $500,000 to two projects that use accessible technology as a means to open doors for individuals with disabilities in the workplace:

  • The Institute for Community Involvement at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, which addresses employment issues for people with disabilities through education, resource development, and increasing employment opportunities for individuals seeking meaningful jobs ($250,000 cash donation).

  • A cooperative project with Highway 1 and Accessible Systems Inc. to bring 508 and accessibility training courses to federal agencies.* Accessibility courses will be offered to government employees, contractors and solution providers. As part of the program, Microsoft is setting up the first industry-supported assistive technology lab, where government agencies can test any and all software for accessibility .

Personal Constituent Services

“Microsoft’s vision of personal government services means that all government agencies can work together seamlessly to provide service to all citizens,”
Ballmer said & quotThat means an inner-city kid and an Iowa farmer can use technology to access information they need securely and privately in a personalized manner on any device.

To demonstrate this, Dr. Augie Turano, a Microsoft Federal Systems Consultant, showed how Windows-based technologies are helping create a new system for providing health-care information to patients and health-care providers. This project is being developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs office of Business Enterprise Solutions and Technologies Service, Emerging Technologies Division.

The Health eVet Project will help provide a complete, patient-centric view of medical information. Once a patient is registered at a VA medical center, data will be extracted from the VA’s legacy MUMPS systems, which then can be combined with patient-entered data. This self-entered data may include treatments or medications under another health-care provider (non-VA), or personal information such as weight or blood pressure to help patients track their own health. Data is stored in a secure encrypted form, and only the patient or a designee may view it.

Health eVet will allow patients complete control over their information, including whether and with whom their information is shared. While still in a feasibility stage, this program has the potential to reduce errors such as those caused by illegible handwriting or missing or miscommunicated information.

Empowered Government Knowledge Workers

Highlighting the use of technology that can empower federal knowledge workers, Ballmer pointed to a U.S. Defense Department application that eliminates costly, overlapping systems while putting crucial, timely information in the hands of government employees. He described a cutting-edge Defense Intelligence Agency application called Merlin, which gives one analyst the ability to fuse multiple sources of intelligence data into a single workstation. Sources could include tactical intelligence, such as information on ships and tanks; satellite or aircraft imagery; human intelligence based on spy data; signals intelligence; or text-based intelligence. Merlin, based on commercial off-the-shelf software — the Windows platform — possesses analytical tools to combine, manipulate, take advantage of and analyze data to form a customized intelligence report for specific Defense Department leadership or senior U.S. administration policymakers, Ballmer said.

Efficiency Through Digital Operations

Ballmer noted that e-government is already a reality. With the combination of the Internet and the security and interoperability of the Windows platform, government organizations have an unprecedented opportunity to communicate with citizens and businesses and to provide government services online. Ballmer cited the U.S. Government Printing Office, which has automated its workflow with more than 5,000 vendors by using Extensible Markup Language (XML) and the Microsoft BizTalk TM Server to seamlessly receive and process orders in any format.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

*Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to procure, maintain and develop electronic and information technology that is accessible to all.

Microsoft, Windows and BizTalk are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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