XChange SLED: 5 Hottest Public Sector Sales Opportunities In 2016

What Does A Hot Market Look Like?

The most lucrative sales opportunities for public sector-focused solution providers can be found in areas with highly coordinated, rapid buying activity across multiple geographic regions.

When determining what government business to pursue, solution providers should consider the presence or absence of federal funding, the presence or absence of federal mandates, the extent to which CIOs are familiar with the new technology and the public demand for more sophisticated IT, according to Chris Dixon, senior manager of state and local industry analysis for Herndon, Va.-based Deltek.

Based on those factors, Dixon broke down the five hottest public sector sales opportunities Tuesday for the more than 100 solution providers attending XChange SLED in Atlanta, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company.

Here’s where Dixon recommends channel partners place their bets.

5. Body-Worn Cameras

The federal government has offered limited funding to double the use of body-worn cameras to 150,000 nationally, Dixon said, but the lion’s share of the funding will have to come from state and local government.

Although the cost of cameras and data storage technology gets less expensive with each passing day, Dixon said the pace of video capture and overall cost of management is growing even faster.

’We’re talking about an unreal amount of unstructured data being collected,’ Dixon said. ’The camera is just the tip of the iceberg.’

BlueBridge Networks is interested in crafting and delivering data archiving and storage solutions for law enforcement that can reduce the cost and improve efficiencies associated with body-worn cameras, according to Kevin Goodman, managing director and partner of the Cleveland-based company.

4. Cybersecurity

Enterprises typically spend 1 percent to 2 percent of their overall budget on cybersecurity, and the federal government has sought more money to aid the states with adopting cybersecurity best practices, but Congress hasn’t funded the proposal.

Smaller government entities are struggling to build cybersecurity expertise given how dynamic the space is, and often look to outside firms for help since they can’t afford to bring the skill sets in-house.

’Everyone in the public wants their data to be secure,’ Dixon said.

All this talk, however, has yet to result in a clearly defined and focused market for solution providers, Dixon said. Instead, the channel often finds itself patching holes for individual government entities after a problem arises.

3. Smart Cities

Although the national government in countries such as Singapore and Spain have funded smart city initiatives, Dixon said it’s extremely unlikely that a federal funding stream for smart cities will ever emerge in the U.S.

Streetlights have been an initial focal point for smart city projects, with the replacement LEDs often having Wi-Fi tools, air-quality monitors or surveillance cameras attached to them. Much of the innovation in the space is oriented around the Internet of Things, Dixon said.

2. FirstNet

Dixon characterized FirstNet as the most aggressive public safety infrastructure project of all time, and said it’s intended to unshackle law enforcement from decades-old communication tools.

He said federal support for FirstNet will center around hardening local infrastructure used by public safety jurisdictions and providing security around the data center, aggregation points and servers. It will also aid with the move to data video image and voice-over evolution.

The federal government will likely stay away from funding smartphone, laptop and tablet purchases since that would cost far more than they can afford. Any new field technology purchased by individual departments, though, will be able to take advantage of enhanced data, video response and text capabilities, Dixon said.

1. eRate 2.0

Erate has $3.9 billion of annual dedicated federal funding to specifically support IT rather than the people or program deliverables.

’There’s money there, no doubt about it,’ Dixon said. ’There’s a sustainable revenue stream.’

The current round of funding its dedicated to internal broadband connections, building off a previous round focused on bringing external broadband lines to the edge of school property. The November 2014 Erate modernization order called for 99 percent of American students to have access to ’next-gen’ broadband by 2018, but Dixon doesn’t believe the U.S. will reach that figure until at least 2022.

Advanced System Integrators recently won bids from four school districts in the latest round of Erate funding thanks to the company’s infrastructure expertise, according to Andrew Bilock, co-president and senior engineer of the Holyoke, Mass.-based company.