New Year New Tech

The year 2018 has introduced many new technologies that could radically change the way people live. These technologies were seen as newfangled concepts, a pipe dream. However slowly but surely these technologies are beginning to take shape. For example, the IDC (International Data Corporation) anticipates that overall spending for AI technology will reach $57.6 billion by 2021. ISG, a global technology research and advisory firm, sent out a survey to 500 businesses and IT leaders. The purpose of the survey was to see what these businesses future plans were for applying automation and AI. The survey discovered that as many as 51% of the businesses surveyed will apply automation and AI by 2019.

Organizations have also been more educated in block-chain technology. Block-chain has been discussed extensively in media which in turn exposed this concept and improved the collective understanding of this technology. A number of major companies have implemented block-chain pilots however it has yet to reach its full potential. However, there is space for black chain technology to continue to innovate and improve. Another form of technology on the rise is VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) technology. With the introduction of VR products like video games, the technology has been consistently improving. VR Company Oculus will be releasing the Oculus Quest in Spring 2019. For AR technology, Economic Daily News gained insider knowledge detailing that the new iPhone for 2019 will have 3 rear cameras in order to provide an AR experience for the customer. One camera will have a telephoto lens while the other two cameras will provide depth mapping. For all these technologies, 2018 has been a testing ground to establish what aspects are needed to improve them.  What makes 2019 unique is that the knowledge gained in 2018 can be used to launch these technologies into the next stage of development. The potential benefits and impacts that these technologies can have on businesses remain to be seen but it’s safe to assume that they could only get better.


Consolidation of Schedules: GSA’s New Vision

The General Service Administration operates 24 Multiple Award Schedules with schedules being organized under industry or type of service. However, GSA has recently announced that it will change the current schedule and consolidate all 24 MAS to one schedule. This announcement will affect all contractors with this type of schedule contract. In addition, it will alter the process by which contractors apply for and government stakeholders buy from GSA schedules. Currently, GSA uses MAS for more than 10 million products that appear on GSA schedules. Reports indicate that an estimated $31 billion is spent each year through MAS contracts. The current system requires vendors to comply with different terms and conditions depending on the products or services they offer. This leads to a confusing and complicated system that frustrates the vendors. The new system that GSA is proposing would streamline the current process and allow vendors to consolidate their purchases to one schedule. GSA has not yet issued a timeline for the consolidation but they say that the consolidation should be anticipated to occur within two years. A GSA representative in a press call explained that the process will be down in two phases. The first phase will be completed in the fiscal year 2019 and existing contractors will continue to sell through their existing contracts while new contracts will be established on the new schedule. In the second phase, GSA will move existing contractors on the new consolidated schedule. This is not a new concept since the idea has been in the works as mentioned in June 2018 at Industry Day. At the moment GSA has not addressed what sort of impact consolidation would have on vendors with multiple contract schedules but what is clear is that this reform to GSA’s current system seeks to lessen GSA’s perception as excessively complicated. Whether this consolidation would be effective remains to be seen. More details would emerge during GSA’s Federal Marketplace Initiative Industry day on December 12 2018.

Government Shutdown Imminent?

The government is reaching a deadline to reach an agreement over seven outstanding appropriation bills. Currently, the deadline for these bills is December 21. Congress was able to pass brand new spending bills for various government organizations but were not able to finish the last seven bills before the midterms. As a result, Congress decided to package all seven bills together into a short-term continuing resolution that was set to expire on December 7th. The biggest issue with these bills is the funding for President Trump’s border wall. Trump has said that he’d allow a government shutdown if the spending does not include the 5 billion for the wall. The Democrats have compromised to allow $1.67 billion for enhanced border security.

The impact that this shutdown may have on federal contractors is tough to say. Going by the previous shutdown in 2013 only certain agencies were affected. The ones that were most affected were any agencies involved in disaster recovery, government research, and federal office buildings. For a federal contractor, the shutdown would affect them depending on the requirements and details of their contract. A shutdown can be seen as a nuisance by federal contractors unless the shutdown lasts for weeks. The longer the contractors are off work the more money their company will lose money. The scope of the shutdown will affect all contractors in different ways. Some will go about their day while others would be told to stay home. Essential personnel and federal programs will keep operating due to reserve funds and the Justice Department, which is reviewing the Mueller investigation, would continue operation. However, agencies like national parks would be affected. In the last government shutdown in 2013 the Republicans in the House protested against funding Obamacare. Potentially the shutdown might not occur due to Nancy Pelosi and Charles E. Schumer met with Donald Trump on Tuesday to discuss funding the government. The possibility of a government shutdown seems to be unlikely since Tuesday’s meeting can lead to a compromise. In addition, there is a risk for Trump to antagonize the public if he were to allow a government shutdown. Whatever the case the shutdown overall will not affect vital federal institutions.