So the U.S. Army has already headed down the smartphone & tablet path with their Google Android based Mobile /Handheld Computing Environment, or CE. The U.S. Navy meanwhile has been dabbling in Apple’s iOS realm. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the Platform as a Service (PaaS) as a possible model for realizing increased effectiveness and efficiencies. But if we want to truly maximize the capabilities of these devices abroad and especially while in the combat zone there is a significant need for a network.
In steps DeLorme with inReach. A device that rides the Iriduim network to provide basic data service. The inReach is able to provide via a standalone mode or combine with an Android phone or Earthmate PN-60w GPS to:
- Send, receive text messages from beyond cell phone range
- Get message delivery confirmation
- Enable remote tracking
- Send 2-way interactive SOS
No big deal right? Well at the price point of $249 and a low monthly plan of less than $10 you’ve got quite a economical reach-back capability. For a little bit more per month you can get that remote tracking (less than $25). Now I’ve used the traditional Iridium phones and service and seen their price tags get quite ridiculous. Think about this as a fall back solution vice the full blown Iridium handset. Implement these in a Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) and you’ve got the immediate network with built in tracking which can automatically relay current positions to aircraft in real-time to provide water and supplies faster for the vital relief. You could also simply grab and go when you set out for a hike. Imagine the lives saved domestically if they’d only had this on them when mother nature took a swing at them.
It really doesn’t get much better than this for an economical long term solution to ensure information transport in an otherwise non-network environment. And for you iOS types rumor has it that it is coming sometime soon!
DeLorme inReach [Amazon]
One of the cool innovations we found while exploring CES was Wi3’s Coax wireless solution. One thing that frustrates many of us is that a home or apartment we’ve just moved into are unable to be networked easily. You might be in a big, old, dense walled home that the single wireless router just isn’t cutting it for decent throughput and streaming coverage.
Wi3’s solutions place the wireless into the form of a Coax outlet. You simply replace that wall panel with this modular and swappable component. Then screw in your Coax cable to it and it will provide a fast networked solution than then enhances the wireless throughout your house. Complete wireless coverage of your house at blazing fast speeds. You simply setup the base station then plug these boxes into each room you have (that is already routed with coax) and start things up. The Wi3 folks impressed so much at CES that they were awarded a 2012 Innovation Award.
If you prefer you can stay full hardline as well (sans wireless for the security concerned folks). So if you’ve been suffering from poor coverage syndrome and suffering through excessive lag on that Xbox 360 or PS3 streaming keep an eye on Wi3 and their release dates. Now if we could only place these aboard ship, most of which are run with coax, and enjoy a decent wireless environment. Obviously there might be some coax upgrades needed but I think this would be the best route into the wireless shipboard environment or at a minimum a redundant network capability. Make sure to watch Wi3 for their upcoming release dates.
One of the great booths at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that I recently attended was Goal Zero’s. It was an impressive display of great innovative solar based generators and energy storage products. But the thing that really impressed me was the quality of their products and the knowledge and professionalism of their people.
This is Goal Zero’s Yeti 1250. This sucker is powerful enough to power a full size refrigerator for multiple days among numerous other applications. The great form factor and capacity are perfect for replacing a traditional generator. I can see applications for this as a backup generator at home, on a boat or a perfect pack and go kit for a Humanitarian Assistance / Disaster Relief (HA/DR) mission.
I wish I would have had a few of these to take ashore with me in Haiti. These would have made all the difference; so would all their other great products. Imagine being able to chain several of these together (which can be done) and getting initial communications and vital survival needs the energy they require. The bigger deal is the lack of infrastructure required to support the units. No fuel required to be transported or protected. Then once things are stabilized in that area pack up and move. Again no need to rework an infrastructure or support plan.
The Yeti 1250 Solar Generator will be out in May of 2012, single unit runs $1499.99 or get the Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit for $1999.99 (which also includes two Boulder 30 solar panels and a carrying cart for the kit).
Currently the best places to get one of these bad boys is: