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Finding the Right Technology Mix for a Citizen-focused Government

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Every four years, the changing of the Administration in Washington, D.C., presents government and defense agencies with an opportunity to assess their technology. For Hughes, our focus remains steady: support civilian and military government agencies with the networks and technologies that enable them to fulfill their missions, securely, efficiently and cost-effectively.

“When looking to serve citizens today, technology -- and communications technology, in particular -- has tremendous ramifications,” said Tony Bardo, assistant vice president, Government Solutions at Hughes.

Government agencies today have a singular opportunity to leverage technology to better serve their constituents and enhance the customer experience. At the Social Security Administration (SSA), for example, the HughesON Digital Signage solution at all 1,800 offices provides critical information to visitors and assists with the SSA application process.

“Digital signage at the SSA offers guidance to visitors. If they’ve arrived for a specific transaction, the signage reminds them which forms they must have. If they don’t have the proper materials, they’re advised to reschedule their appointment. It’s both instructional and informational, using digital media to deliver the message,” Mr. Bardo said. Touch-free and socially-distanced, it’s also COVID-friendly.

For other customers, Hughes delivers managed broadband services to create a better citizen experience. At state and national parks, network services support online reservation systems so visitors can secure cabins and accommodations for their vacations or enjoy secure Wi-Fi service during their visits. In areas hit by natural disaster, citizen-centric services are critical to rebuilding and relief efforts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for example uses Hughes Community Wi-Fi hotspots to provide connectivity at pop-up walk-in centers, so that local residents can complete the lengthy online forms required to request relief, a task that is impossible if they’ve lost power and connectivity or worse, lost their home.

“Our technologies and services touch citizens directly. What we do fits a role in that citizen-friendly, customer-first environment,” Mr. Bardo explained. “Older technologies have dominated the government space for many years. But today’s applications and services require far more bandwidth than they used to. Old technologies, like MPLS, cannot sustain the growth in bandwidth hungry apps; and organizations just can’t afford to do it the way they used to. It’s far more efficient and cheaper to look at new approaches. You can do more with broadband technologies than you can with dedicated technologies.”

The start of a new administration presents an opportunity to re-assess how technologies and services can enable an agency’s agenda.

“We connect the dots in ways that others don’t. We bring terrestrial, satellite, managed services, all these different elements and technologies. It’s not one size fits all. We can build and sustain enterprise grade, industrial strength networks that are secure and make a network more robust in terms of size, bandwidth, and capability — and not hit the checkbook so hard.”

Perhaps that’s the ultimate objective of every Administration: citizen-focused yet budget-friendly services. One thing that won’t change is the focus on finding the right mix of technologies and services to meet that goal.