Aug 2nd 2017 | Posted in Mary Scott Nabers' Insights by Mary Scott Nabers

Most companies that sell to government love RFIs. These documents, known as Requests for Information (RFIs), alert contractors to upcoming opportunities and allow them time to consider whether to pursue the opportunity.

RFIs related to technology are common and fairly easy to track. There are almost always RFIs before large technology projects are launched. Another way to find upcoming opportunities is to dig through city, county and state budgets as they are approved.  But, since that takes more time and effort, tracking RFIs is easier.  There’s only one caveat, some projects will be missed by a total dependence on RFIs.

While occasionally required, it’s not the norm for public entities to require future bidders to respond to RFIs. These types of solicitation documents are used so that public officials can receive input from private-sector firms as they develop specifications for an upcoming procurement. Technology changes very rapidly and government officials are always eager to hear about new solutions, innovative services and leading-edge technology.

Here are some recent RFIs that definitely provide valuable information about upcoming opportunities:

Snohomish County, Wash., has released an RFI asking respondents to suggest technology innovations and ideas that will help Snohomish receive a Smart County designation. To date, there is only one designated Smart County in the nation… but that will change soon.  Many counties have announced plans to achieve this goal.

A Smart County designation can only be achieved when a county is using emerging technologies and data systems to provide better citizen services. Snohomish County’s RFI indicates support for all forms of new technology including Internet of Things (IoT) and rural broadband expansion.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) released an RFI seeking advice and information related to Connected Automated Vehicles (CAVs). The RFI is not limited to CAVs and encourages other technology as well.

The Port of Los Angeles (POLA) wants to become a digitized, fully connected SMARTPORT. A recent RFI seeks input related to a wireless network solution, integration of various IT infrastructure, Internet of Things (Iot) solutions, Big Data, and Bluetooth. The Port is also interested in alternative financial models to pay for everything.

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) released an RFI for studies related to tolling on state highways. From reading the RFI, it is obvious that the state intends to gather as much intelligence as possible about tolled lanes – asset inventory, sequence of tolling deployment, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations, procurement approaches and public outreach. The governor has stated that tolling will be necessary to meet the state’s transportation infrastructure needs.

The City of San Jose, Calif., recently issued an RFI focusing on Autonomous Vehicle Technology (AVT). The city hopes to be named a demonstration site. The RFI indicates five corridors where autonomous vehicle technology could be used to eliminate traffic congestion, lower greenhouse emissions and provide more transportation options for underserved areas. It asks for input and ideas.

The U.S. Coast Guard released an RFI for a potential Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. It appears that the Coast Guard is still using an outdated paper health records system. There are various specific areas that responders are asked to address. Two of these include security standards and solutions to streamline daily functions related to services.


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Mary Scott Nabers

As President and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., Mary Scott Nabers has decades of experience working in the public-private sector. A well-recognized expert in the P3 and government contracting fields, she is often asked to share her industry insights with top publications and through professional speaking engagements.