The nation's first-ever chief technology officer, Aneesh Chopra, used his keynote address at the CEA Line Shows conference in New York to talk about innovations to health care IT and government IT infrastructure that would allow the United States to compete more vigorously in an increasingly interconnected digital world.
Chopra, the nation's first chief technology officer
, discussed health care
IT, the growth in national bandwidth consumption and digital security at the CEA
Line Shows conference here June 11.
"As CTO, it is incumbent upon me to
achieve on the president's goals that we harness the power of our nation's
innovation to advance the economy," said Chopra, the former Virginia
secretary of technology, who was tapped by Obama for the national position in
April. "I have great confidence we can do some wonderful things together."
Achieving those goals, Chopra added, will depend on "four pillars" of IT.
"The first pillar is to harness the power potential of economic growth," Chopra
said, citing the June 11 switchover to digital television
that will free up
broadband capacity for the private sector to utilize.
Similar policies in the future, he suggested, will help promote economic
growth and innovation. On a per-capita basis, Americans now pull down a
gigabyte of data per year via their wireless devices, a rate that Chopra
expects to increase fivefold by 2013 as more people utilize devices such as
read about security and the new federal cyber-security plan, click here.
The second pillar, he said, is to "bring innovation
platforms" to address issues such as health care IT, and utilize entrepreneurs
to develop new tools that will leverage that technology. Chopra also sees the
cloud as being key to streamlining and innovating health care IT and other
The third pillar, Chopra continued, is security
for IT infrastructure.
"I'm fascinated by the idea that we can interconnect all sorts of things
that we never connected before," he said. However, "we are constantly under
attack by those who wish to undermine our economy," necessitating that the
country "embed in the infrastructure enough security and reliability."
The fourth pillar involves "bringing the concepts of retail 2.0 into
government service itself and government operations." Imagine, Chopra
suggested, taking the online tools that companies such as Amazon.com utilize to
maximize the conversion rate of sales and then applying them to help citizens
Traditionally, Chopra said, the government has engaged on the IT front in
two ways: by investing in basic research and by procuring massive amounts of
various companies' products.
Within these two areas, he continued, "there's not a lot of room for risk."
However, the government can move to occupy space in "the innovation gray zone"
in the middle to accomplish its goals.
Although he's been on the job for a grand total of two weeks, Chopra intends
"to ask the American people to hold me accountable." To that end, he claims,
he's preparing a scorecard with specific milestones to be met, with
three-month, six-month, and nine-month goals and beyond. Time will tell whether
such an ambitious agenda can be achieved within those metrics.