VA has issued only 475 iOS devices to staff

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The rate of department-issued smartphones and tablets within Veterans Affairs is slower than initially expected, acknowledged VA Chief Information Officer Roger Baker during a Jan. 30 call with reporters.

Currently the VA has issued 475 Apple iOS devices to its personnel. "I'm surprised it is as low as it is," Baker said--but added that the department isn't counting the number of employee-owned devices that access the VA network through a thin-client viewer.

There remain within the department about 40,000 officially issued cellphones and approximately 20,000 BlackBerrys.

The focus on mobility within the VA currently resides with apps, Baker also said. "We've been working for 2 years to make certain that we have a mobility infrastructure that will allow us to roll out apps that access our network and our data" and do so quickly, he said.

He cited a pilot implementation of an app being utilized during an annual Department of Housing and Urban Development survey of the homeless to gather data on veterans living on the streets. The app will test the automated reporting of data that includes personally identifiable information. Baker says he wants the CIO shop "to get to the point to where somebody says 'Hey, we'd like an app for that,' and we can say, 'Absolutely, we can deliver that, we can make VA data available for that.'"

For more
- listen to Baker's Jan. 30 presser

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