This is the biggest event where you can see the technology available to government agencies, meet with people from IT departments, get lots of information about the products, hear success stories and learn how the ICT departments implementing tools, methodologies etc. As I am involving with workflow, document and content management systems at work, this event is like Google Ad Sense for me. There was nothing that I am not interested in and the information I have got out of it was definitely useful.
I like these events because while you are seeing the companies producing some of the technologies during the little seminars, there are also conferences given by head of ICT departments of government agencies. This year I have selected some of them and watched closely to get some benefit out of them.
Event has been organised by Terrapinn and names like EMC2, Interwoven, SoftwareAG, AirDefense etc. were the contributors.
The first mini seminar that I attended was given by Clive Gold of EMC about the Information Management and Structure systems in a video surveillance system. The data coming out of video cameras (analog or IP based) is recorded on hard disks and with a front end application you can go through the recorded video and track who is doing what. This front end application is also integrated with swipe cards so that the videos recorded at a gateway can be linked to swipe card behavior. There is also a face recognition system integrated to actually compare the faces with the swipe cards to see if the swipe card has been used by it's owner. EMC's video recording system is using open video codec standards.
Clive Gold, EMC Corporate Evangelist
Another conference given by Greg Farr of Australian Taxation Office about the new Change Program. Greg talked about how ATO is masquerading the complexity of the tax laws from tax payers and tax agents with the application like e-Tax and Tax Agent Portal. The usage of Tax Agent Portal in December 2002 was 19% and it increased to 52% at December 2005. 82% of the Tax Agents are using the Tax agent Portal.
"The biggest problem in the eye of customers were when they called in ATO they would like to speak with the same call centre staff as they spoke before to prevent repeating their life story" he said. This is made possible.
A buzzword I have heard was the "citizen-centric". Government organisations are dealing with mostly legislations and internal processes of their business. This is a organisation-centric approach. ATO has gone further and listened people to introduce a more easier and personalised experience for it's customers.
Greg Farr, Second Commissioner, Australian Taxation Office
Federal agent Nigel Phair from Australian High Tech Crime Centre talked about how we need to be educated about the secure usage of internet and computers. The importance of patching and antivirus applications, protecting yourself from spam and phishing e-mails were the subjects. AHTCC is fighting with illegal activities on the internet. You can report an online crime through their portal. I was asking presenters whether it is okay to put their pictures on my blog and Nigel was the only one asking what kind of blog?
Nigel Phair, Team Leader, AHTCC
On the second day Robert Campbell from Defense Signals Directorate talked about the risk management and mitigation techniques in IT security. DSD is a government organisation dealing with signals intelligence and information security and they have a guideline called ACSI 33. This guideline provides policies to Australian Government agencies on how to protect their IT systems. It is a nice reading material for those interested.
Robert Campbell, Assistant Secretary, DSD
The last conference I have attended was given by Tony Kwan, CIO of Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST). It was about adopting an architectural approach in e-government and e-education. He first showed an old, messy, tightly coupled system diagram and a new one divided into components which increases the reusability and security of the system. Their approach of architecting the system will help to easily design, build and manage the necessary systems for Australia's education sector. There are about 30.000 external customers and this number is expected to grow over 1 million during the 2006-2007 academic calendar.
Tony Kwan, CIO, DEST
As a conclusion, events like this are a gem for me to hear some of the really experienced people in the industry. Also evaluating the services and products from different vendors is something that you can't get a chance to do it often. Thanks to Terrapinn that they are organising an event like this every year.