Mobile Device Expertise Keeps MITRE ConnectedNovember 2017
Whether you compose your reports on a PC, connect by email with clients using a tablet, or cradle a mobile device while out in the field, the question that’s most on Isaac Wright's mind is, "Are you having a great user experience?"
"We own the user experience for all of MITRE for smartphone usage," he says of his group. As our mobile and remote services manager since September 2016, Wright—along with his team—delivers that great experience wherever possible. It starts the moment the employee loosens the bubble wrap from a new handheld device. Wright and his team also work to make it easier for all staff to connect from any corner of the globe.
But he longs for the day when a new, unpacked MITRE mobile device will rev up, connect to a network, and securely connect employees with all their data back to MITRE in a matter of minutes.
"We're not there yet," he says. But the dream of this quick, smart process keeps him stoked about the everyday possibilities that mobile computing and technology bring.
Envisioning the Future of a Mobile World
Mobile is a field on fire, Wright says, so he spends about 20 percent of his time exploring ways to ignite new possibilities at MITRE. (It's an area that MITRE has contributed to for nearly two decades, supporting everyone from warfighters to first responders to smartphone owners.)
"This is the sexy stuff that makes you say, 'wouldn't it be awesome if we could do X with these phones and handheld devices?'" Whipping a sleek, black cell phone from his pants pocket, Wright waves it like a wand.
"This phone can swipe me in and register my attendance when I enter the room for a meeting or automate the temperature in a room." For him, these are glimpses of the possibilities and potential. "Here at MITRE, we're always trying to see where mobile can take us, and we balance that with where we are now."
And where we are now means Wright and his team largely focus on achieving the day-to-day user experience that enables MITRE to support our sponsors' missions wherever and whenever they need us.
Today, as vendor data cycles in and out of MITRE’s mobile devices and the potential for a security breach heightens, delivering that user experience is growing more challenging. Wright says he must be a watchdog, working closely with MITRE’s information security team. He also keeps up with vendors like Apple and Google to stay ahead of everchanging security data and legal processes—and their implications for MITRE.
"In my role, I need to know and understand what vendors are doing. I have to learn where there are potential holes and security risks for MITRE, and what controls we have in place to mitigate risk."
A Love of Technology Opens a New Career Path
Today, when Wright looks back at his start in the IT field, getting to MITRE—and now serving as a go-to expert on mobile computing—can feel like a giant leap.
In 2003, mobile devices were emerging and evolving. Wright, a new political science graduate of Vanderbilt University, managed to turn his curiosity about how technology and political science intersect into an entry-level, staff IT job on Capitol Hill. He built and maintained a congresswoman’s website and her office's file server. Back then, the most powerful devices available were standard cell phones, BlackBerry devices, and pagers.
That early work fueled a deeper interest in IT. Wright satisfied it with courses and a variety of technical jobs with the government and with local schools before landing a post with the U.S. Capitol Police. "That's where I got my deepest immersion in technology and where I was first exposed to mobile technology."
By 2006, "I was fortunate to find a company like MITRE, or rather they found me. Their support for what I do and am interested in can’t be matched."
He also earned a master of science degree in information systems technology from The George Washington University with support from the company's professional development program. As a regular mentor and adviser to college student co-op groups, Wright shares his excitement and knowledge of mobile computing and technology.
"This is a field that I love," he says. "Mobile technology is fun, and it's evolving every day. We've just scratched the surface of what the technology can do."
—By B. Denise Hawkins
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