Situations When Nothing But A Rugged Portable Computer System Will Do

There are practically infinite numbers of situations where computer communication is vital but where common computer equipment will be woefully inadequate or fail altogether. These situations may be in governmental, civil, or emergency contexts and call for rugged portable computer systems that can take huge amounts of physical stress yet still perform at peak efficiency. Here are some essential features to look for when choosing such a system, the applications for which they are appropriate, and situations when nothing but a rugged system will do.

Emergencies

In times of emergency, equipment failure is simply not an option. Computer units need to be both vehicle-mounted and ground portable in order to get the job done in a variety of contexts. A good supplier of rugged systems will carry computer systems that already come with interactive mapping systems, GPS, and other software that will automatically report locations of incidents so that responders can arrive as soon as possible.

Vehicle-mounted computer systems are convenient and easily-accessed tools that can be used in airplanes and helicopters as well as in cars and on boats and still work great no matter the temperature or weather conditions.

Government and Law Enforcement

Law enforcement officers face difficult situations on a daily basis that require computer equipment that can “take it.” Bicycle police, mounted police, and SWAT teams all need hand-held systems that are strong and can withstand the abuses inflicted upon them by their owners. Kneeboard tablet PCs are a great choice for these occupations, and there are even hand held speech to speech translating systems on the market that are useful when language barriers are a problem.

Rugged systems are essential in military contexts where they are essential to maintaining communications between troops in war zones and in other areas as well. Products may also include situational awareness equipment and command and control systems that help soldiers stay in control and carry out their missions.

Civilian Applications

There are many civilian organizations who take on humanitarian causes under the most extreme physical circumstances. While a common laptop would wilt under such conditions, a rugged system will be able to take the abuses heaped upon it and keep running at peak efficiency. Many rugged systems come sealed so that they can be used underwater, in hot deserts, and even in subzero arctic situations, making them ideal tools for scientists and explorers.

Computer systems are not just for the home or office anymore: they have become indispensable machines in just about every walk of life and situation imaginable. Rugged systems are designed to provide reliable computer services under the most extreme circumstances.

The Challenge of NFC for the DoD

NFC access card technology, via smart phones, like the Blackberry and iPhone. NFC is near field communication and is essentially two-way RFID, or radio frequency identification. NFC key cards are already in use in the hotel and airline industries, with downloadable room keys and boarding passes. Experts believe that eventually driver’s licenses and passport information will migrate to the NFC platform, but currently, there are too many problems with issuance, interoperability and security, that must be resolved first. One major issue for NFC-enabled mobile devices is that older cell phones do not have the installed chips. Existing smart phones without embedded NFC readers could work via Bluetooth tethering or a USB port.

The DoD put out a request for information in September of 2010, to start looking at NFC, to replace its Common Access Card and government employees’ PIV, or personal identity verification, credentials. Used by three million people for logical and physical access, the DoD CAC/PIV smartcard would be a big boon to the winning developer of the chip technology contract. The DoD is considering adding global payment, ATM access, and management of public transit service benefits to the card’s functionality. The DoD would also like to develop a debit card for military personnel, to be able to buy groceries both on and off base.

NFC is divided into two camps, open and secure. Open NFC allows for checking into hotel rooms, stores, or flights. Secure NFC enables financial transactions, whether through NFC access keys or NFC-enabled smartphones. The former can be developed much more rapidly than the latter because of the necessity of multiple layers of security and the complex nature of creating data protection software. Security is obviously the biggest concern for the DoD. Because of the many platforms and systems that support NFC, the potential for hackers and cyber-terrorists to develop viruses and malware is great.

Another problem, with NFC-enabled smartphones, is access control. PIN numbers and pattern codes for locking the phone are common, but the mechanism is usually optional. Any NFC mobile device approved for military use would need additional security layers. Some solutions to this are one-time passcode generators, biometrics, and GPS location tagging. The cameras on smartphones could be utilized for facial or iris recognition or fingerprint swiping. The phone’s GPS technology could flag fraudulent activity from individuals attempting to gain access from a computer that is far removed from the mobile device.

The rate of innovation for mobile apps is a further vulnerability in security. New versions of software are released at a frenetic pace and present problems for organizations trying to keep up. Imagine deploying and maintaining the technology over an organization the size of the Department of Defense. Whether the DoD goes with NFC-enabled smartphones or NFC access keys, it will certainly be a challenge. “>The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is considering replacing its Common Access Card with NFC access card technology, via smart phones, like the Blackberry and iPhone. NFC is near field communication and is essentially two-way RFID, or radio frequency identification. NFC key cards are already in use in the hotel and airline industries, with downloadable room keys and boarding passes. Experts believe that eventually driver’s licenses and passport information will migrate to the NFC platform, but currently, there are too many problems with issuance, interoperability and security, that must be resolved first. One major issue for NFC-enabled mobile devices is that older cell phones do not have the installed chips. Existing smart phones without embedded NFC readers could work via Bluetooth tethering or a USB port.

The DoD put out a request for information in September of 2010, to start looking at NFC, to replace its Common Access Card and government employees’ PIV, or personal identity verification, credentials. Used by three million people for logical and physical access, the DoD CAC/PIV smartcard would be a big boon to the winning developer of the chip technology contract. The DoD is considering adding global payment, ATM access, and management of public transit service benefits to the card’s functionality. The DoD would also like to develop a debit card for military personnel, to be able to buy groceries both on and off base.

NFC is divided into two camps, open and secure. Open NFC allows for checking into hotel rooms, stores, or flights. Secure NFC enables financial transactions, whether through NFC access keys or NFC-enabled smartphones. The former can be developed much more rapidly than the latter because of the necessity of multiple layers of security and the complex nature of creating data protection software. Security is obviously the biggest concern for the DoD. Because of the many platforms and systems that support NFC, the potential for hackers and cyber-terrorists to develop viruses and malware is great.

Another problem, with NFC-enabled smartphones, is access control. PIN numbers and pattern codes for locking the phone are common, but the mechanism is usually optional. Any NFC mobile device approved for military use would need additional security layers. Some solutions to this are one-time passcode generators, biometrics, and GPS location tagging. The cameras on smartphones could be utilized for facial or iris recognition or fingerprint swiping. The phone’s GPS technology could flag fraudulent activity from individuals attempting to gain access from a computer that is far removed from the mobile device.

The rate of innovation for mobile apps is a further vulnerability in security. New versions of software are released at a frenetic pace and present problems for organizations trying to keep up. Imagine deploying and maintaining the technology over an organization the size of the Department of Defense. Whether the DoD goes with NFC-enabled smartphones or NFC access keys, it will certainly be a challenge.