Bring Your Device In Government: NTSB Also Ditching BlackBerry For iPhone.

Smartphones (as long as they have proper security and work) are big with the government.  And when they don’t?  They get replaced: according to sources (link below), the National Transportation Security Board (NTSB) has published a “Notice of Intent to Sole Source iPhone Devices,” noting that Apple’s latest smartphone incarnation will “replace NTSB’s existing blackberry devices.”  In this regard, it doesn’t sound too different from previous proclamations from government branches — like ICE — that they were dropping BlackBerries for Apple iPhones.

However, NTSB has published a justification for the transition.

Fails at Inopportune Times and at Unacceptable Levels

The NTSB published in its “Justification for Other than Full & Open Competition (JOFOC) Apple iPhone 5” that they’ll be replacing NTSB’s BlackBerries with the iPhone 5.  The reason for the switch lies in the inopportune and unacceptable failure rates for BBs:

This requirement is for the acquisition of Apple iPhone 5 devices. These Apple devices will replace the NTSB’s existing blackberry devices, which have been failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate.   The NTSB requires effective, reliable and stable communication capabilities to carry-out its primary investigative mission and to ensure employee safety in remote locations.

LOL.  Fails at inopportune times.  And what would be an example of a BB failing at an opportune time?  When one’s mother-in-law calls?  I kid, I kid.

Anyhow, NTSB is correct in wanting to replace a device that shows significant levels of failure, although one wonders whether this is a reference to hardware or network reliability (BlackBerry had a couple of notorious communication blackouts in the past five years).  Or both.

Apple Devices Already in Place and in Play

Why Apple, though?  Why not Android?  Aside from the fact that the latter’s open system means that, at least currently, hackers are having a field day with Google’s mobile OS?

Further justification comes from the fact that NTSB has already dabbled with Cupertino’s patented rounded-cornered rectangles:

The NTSB desires to transition from use of the blackberry device to the iPhone 5.  The NTSB is a small organization with limited resources.  As such, it needs to standardize on a minimum number of operating platforms.  The NTSB currently utilizes Apple iPad devices and operational support is already in place to support Apple’s IOS operating system.

… The NTSB also anticipates the benefit of synching of the iPad devices and the iPhone devices, allowing users to seamlessly transition between the use of multiple platforms while retaining the same applications and capabilities.

Further justifications for selecting the iPhone 5 — despite the fact that NTSB’s carrier, Verizon Wireless, will not be offering them for free (but will definitely do so at a significant discount) — lies in hidden total costs:

Purchase of a device other than the iPhone 5 will require staff resources and additional software platform purchases that are not currently available.

AlertBoot Mobile Security actually shines in this area: as a managed BYOD security service, it has one flat price (monthly or annual).  There is no need for an encryption expert to be on staff; or for the purchase of hardware, such as servers, to act as a central management hub; or software for that same hardware, such as OS licenses for running the server.  Just straight up MDM for controlling smartware under a BYOD program.

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