POCKETS was founded on the premise, given the magnitude of the challenges we face in America, that we can and must learn to do more with the very powerful information and communication technology resources we have created over the past several decades. Efforts to date, in the way of telework (work from home) and telework centers (hoteling), have not met expectations nor have they been effective in meeting compliance with the Federal Telework Law and requirements for viable Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP).
While the wealth of ICT resources has grown dramatically over the past decade, little formal development of new models has occurred. In part, this is due to a primary focus on mobility as the major method of access and most planners and legislatures have had little experience with leveraging information and communication technologies as infrastructure.
The company has thoroughly researched the drivers for change: transportation congestion, air pollution, global economic competition, reliance on imported oil and emergency preparedness.
Additionally, research on the current methods of using information technologies to mitigate these drivers has guided the company’s proposed development of a multi-location workplace model.
The Company is currently working in several areas of market development with federal, state, regional and local officials. At the federal level, work has been underway with members of Congress, several key House and Senate Committees and several federal agencies. The focus on the federal government as supporter and employer to support multi-location pilot initiatives has multiple elements of justification. Agencies and departments have three dominant areas of responsibility that are of growing concern; support of employees on a remote basis as defined in Public Law 106-346 Section 359 - the Federal Telework Law; the requirements laid forth in FEMA Federal Preparedness Circular 65 to assure viable Continuity of Operations Plans in response to emergencies; and the requirements for alternate sites in cases of emergencies as identified in Public Law 107-217, § 587 and FEMA Federal Preparedness Circular 67. These critical requirements converge around strategic placement and secure operations of personnel for day to day benefit and for emergency preparedness.
The growing sense of urgency for an effective approach to meeting these requirements combined with the Federal Governments responsibilities to support, maintain and expand our transportation infrastructure, protect the quality of our air, and reduce our reliance on imported oil mandate federal involvement in leveraging our information and communications infrastructure.
Discussions with staffs of several State Governors have also identified comparable sets of issues and concerns. One state’s Energy and Conservation Office has identified its interest in helping advance one or more pilot initiatives while additional support has been gained from several business and air quality groups. Several communities are currently assessing the impact of the federal government Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program and the potential of a multi-location workplace model as a method to retain residents and preserve jobs.
POCKETS has proposed organizing local, state and federal levels with specific community business and technology providers as major stakeholders to examine the formation of localized ‘Public-Private” Partnerships, similar to those currently being formed in the transportation sector. The partnerships should own and direct the establishment of this infrastructure to better connect communities, improve job access, create better emergency preparedness, improve the quality of air, and to become centers for the distribution of distance learning and telemedicine services. These multi-location telecommunication networks will strengthen the metropolitan and regional objectives for growth and sustainability.
The information economy is a major factor of change in the 21st century and it is imperative we acknowledge that connectivity is as valuable a method of access as is mobility. Finding more effective methods of connectivity access has the potential of improving traffic demand management and reducing gridlock on our valuable transportation infrastructure.