Ten Ways Mobile Business Solutions Succeed and Fail

When offices first went digital, a large number of businesses failed to successfully integrate computers. One story that I heard more than once was “We bought computers six months ago. Now they sit on the shelf in a closet where they are a very expensive way of gathering dust.”

Something like this is currently happening with mobile solutions. An estimated 100 million workers use mobile devices for business purposes. However, a surprisingly large number of mobile business solutions have failed. Here, at AMREL, we hear a lot about them, because we have reputation for technical support, i.e. we get many calls about problems affecting other companies solutions, because the end users are so frustrated with the original supplier that they try contacting us.

Before you buy a mobile communication solution, here are a few of things to look for:

1) Lack of user buy in. This is probably the number one cause of failure, and many of the examples given here are really just a variation of this problem. The end-user (field personnel, maintenance worker, salesman, warfighter, warehouse worker, etc.) simply doesn’t want to use the shiny, new mobile device. Pen and pencil worked fine all this time. Why should he invest energy in making a change?

Before one deploys a communication solution, survey the end user. What are their needs? Their challenges? After the system is rolled out, survey them again and again. Are they having problems with the new solution? What changes do they recommend? Be prepared for a lot of tweaking even after the system is deployed. Remember: You don’t get decide when you are done with the solution deployment. It may never end.

2) Overlooking back-end and software functionality. This was much more of a problem in the past than it is now. The older generation viewed software as an afterthought, while hardware was the “real” heart of the solution.

Still this problem shows up even today. Is the application user-friendly? Does it enable the end-user to perform their most important tasks? Has the app been optimized for mobile devices? Is the back-end scalable so you can adjust it for future needs? Is the back-end off the shelf or specifically made for your enterprise? If it is unique, does that mean you’re locked into support by one vendor? These are questions that businesses have learned to ask the hard way.

3) End-to-end solutions. This is an example of a “back-end” problem mentioned above. End-to-end solutions can be great, but let me tell you an example in which they weren’t.

A big city police department needed a new in-vehicle solution. They replaced their mobile computers with a cheaper brand, which only worked with the manufacturer’s proprietary software. The department thought they were getting a great deal, because the initial price was lower than anything else on the market.

The software was a disaster. Officers didn’t get emergency messages quickly or sometimes not at all. The entire system (in-vehicle computers and software) was replaced in a year.

Several years ago, I attended a seminar in which large Public Safety departments described how they were going to meet FirstNet requirements. Several participants railed against end-to-end solutions. I don’t agree; some end-to-end systems work well. But I can’t say that I was surprised by the vehemence that was expressed.

4) End user literally can’t see the information on the screen. The screen is washed out by the sun or is too small to accurately display the information needed for the task. Seems obvious, but businesses have been known to overlook this.

5) No keyboard. Tablets work fine for checklists, but what about the comments section, which can be a critical part of a worker’s responsibilities? One company failed to get productivity gains for field personnel, because all waited to get back to the office before inputting data. Since they were going to sit down at their desktops anyway, why split the work of data entry into two tasks? Of course, you can always buy a tablet with a QWERTY keyboard, such as AMREL’s ROCKY DT10.

6) Politics and brand loyalty. Buy an iPad if it fits your enterprise’s needs. Don’t buy it to look cool. The Los Angeles Unified School District paid a very expensive price for this lesson.

7) Access to databases. Another version of the “back-end” problem. Some workers will not use their mobile devices if they can’t access databases, such as product catalog, CRM, and order entry systems. Lack of access prevented them from completing their tasks, so just like the field workers above, they waited until getting back to the office to input data. Don’t assume you know what info they need. Ask them.

8) Workers are scared to use mobile devices, because they are expensive. Some companies are especially punitive toward workers who damage their mobile devices, so they simply leave them in the box and never use them. Give your staff peace of mind, save money in the long run, and buy rugged computers.

9) Can’t physically carry the device. Supervisors assumed that warehouse workers would always have a free hand to use a mobile device. Turned out they were wrong. When strapped to belts, the devices always got in the way, and workers needed two hands for most tasks. Hate to sound repetitive, but, again, ask the end user.

10) Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). There are advantages and disadvantages to this popular policy. Read about it here.

The above is not meant to be complete, but rather a collection of anecdotes that we have heard over the years. Do you have your own mobile story? Send it to editor@amrel.com.

What to look for in 2016

Recently, I read several articles that listed predictions, e.g. “Top Ten security Risks in 2016.”  Like everyone else who services Defense and Security industries, AMREL is always looking ahead to see what products and services will be in demand.

What I noticed is that none of the articles predicted the big stories of 2016 that have already happen, i.e. the crumbling stock market and collapsing oil prices.  Rather than make predictions, I decided to analyze these events and their implications for the year ahead.

 

Oil

As has been widely reported, oil prices have slumped because of Saudi Arabia’s aggressive campaign to wipe out fracking. Fracking and other non-traditional methods of oil extraction have resulted in unprecedented levels of North American oil production.  Fracking is expensive; oil needs to be around $60 or $70 a barrel for it to be economical. Saudi’s aggressive pumping of cheap oil has pushed it down the price of a barrel to around $30. This has caused a massive reduction of capital investments and extensive layoffs in the fracking industry, which is what Saudi Arabia wants.

 

Stock market

Why has cheap oil caused the stock market to decline? Obviously, oil companies are suffering from the Saudi campaign, and this is a drag on the whole market. Some argue that eventually the economic benefits of cheaper oil will become so evident than even the famously manic-depressive stock market will have to notice them.

However, the other possible cause of oil’s price decline is what is really spooking the financial markets. China drives the world’s economy, especially with its voracious appetites for raw materials. Nobody believes the Chinese government’s official statistics, so businessmen are always looking for indications of the true state of its economy. If oil prices are low, that means their economy is not demanding as much, which means that it is slowing down. That means a lesser demand for raw materials, and that means bad times for all.  Add to this that Brazil, a major supplier of raw goods to China, is having serious problems, and you got yourself a worldwide economic freak out.

 

What does this mean for Defense industries?

How will the Chinese government react to its economic slowdown? After all, the Communist Party has held onto power partly through China’s unparalleled economic growth rates. How will they placate their citizens who expect and demand upward mobility? The Party could enact political and economic reforms that will enable true transparency, genuine economic freedom, and an elimination of the near-surrealistic levels of smothering corruption.

Sorry about that last sentence. I needed a good laugh. What the Chinese leadership has done in recent years and will probably do in the future when faced with a discontented public is foment nationalism and beat the drums of war.

Educated Chinese still talk about the “century of humiliation” when Japan and Western powers carved up China like a roast turkey. Nationalistic pride is a raw nerve easily aggravated, especially when it comes to matters of territorial claims.

Consider:

  • China is heavily dependent on trade.
  • United States Navy is capable of enforcing choke points of China’s major trade routes in the South China Sea.
  • China has border disputes with virtually every one of its neighbors (not an exaggeration).
  • China is aggressively ramping up its naval capabilities.

The United States us fully aware of this situation and has tried to shift its military resources in the so-called “Pacific Tilt.”  Good news for Defense firms that supply Naval needs. No so good for those that supply land-based military needs.

I am not suggesting that there will be a war between a China and the US. Nobody wants that (it should be pointed out, however, that historically “what everybody wants” has very little to do with whether or not a war starts). But what it does mean is a build-up of military assets and equipment.

I am also assuming that the United Sates will be able to avoid further major land-based operations in the Middle East.  After the expensive, inconclusive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American public simply has no appetite for another lengthy ground battle.

 

Three things to look for in 2016

  • California real estate prices. The phenomenon of cash-rich overseas Chinese investors buying up California real estate is so well known that it is practically a cliché. If the Chinese economy is really in trouble, and the threat of war looms large, expect the already insanely expensive housing market in the Golden State to heat up further as wealthy Chinese seek safe harbor for their assets.
  • Marines get busy. Satirist Tom Lehr says it best:

When someone makes a move
Of which we don’t approve,
Who is it that always intervenes?
UN and OAS,
They have their place, I guess,
But first send the Marines!

If America is serious about a show of force in the South Chinese Sea, expect to see Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children (USMC) conducting training missions on remote rocky atolls. Also, keep track of aircraft carriers, Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles, the DF-5 (Chinese ICBM) and other technologies that may be used in coming Pacific face-off.

  • Syrian peace talks. Just because we don’t want to fight a major land war in the Middle East, doesn’t mean that we won’t. Right now, the region resembles a live action version of the board game Risk. No sensible, rational person would want to get mixed up in this unholy mess. So, we can’t rule out US involvement.

The Russians are supporting the brutal Syrian dictator Assad. They are dragging their feet in the Syrian peace talks, trying to gain military advantage before any final settlement. However, the Russians have their own troubles. European sanctions against them for their Ukrainian intervention, low prices on their only economic asset (oil) and the fact that achieving a meaningful military intervention in the Middle East is like trying to sweep back the ocean with a broom are just few problems that might force them to negotiate peace in earnest. Keep in mind that the Russian government is unprincipled, sociopathic and thuggish.  This means they will be easier to deal with than the other players in the Middle East.

Speaking of unprincipled, thuggish, sociopaths, it looks like Iran has decided to play nice. The kerfuffle with the captured American sailors could have been a lot worse. Yes, Iran violated international law with the humiliating videotape of the sailors’ capture and forced apology. But this is nothing compared to the grand drawn-out comic farce it could have been.  Within days the sailors were released and all naval equipment was returned.

Please note the economic benefits of the nuclear deal will be slow in coming. The deal only removes some of the sanctions against Iran. Oil is at an all-time low. Iranian pumping infrastructure is old and rusty. The $100 billion dollars unfrozen assts that you may have heard about is an exaggeration; Iran owes a lot of that money to other countries. Money is a powerful motive to get along with your neighbors and curtail military actions.

Furthermore, the US is circulating rumors that Iran has withdrawn most of its forces from Syria. Other rumors indicate that Iranian involvement with Syria is deeply unpopular with the Iranian public.

The Syrian war is by far the most dangerous conflict in that part of the world (even more so than the Israeli-Palestinian one). A peace agreement, even a flawed one, would be an enormously stabilizing event. While it may be farfetched, it is not a possibility that can be dismissed out of hand.

 

AMREL’S role

We haven’t noticed any dramatic change in the nature of our purchasing orders. Whatever the Defense needs will be this year, we will meet them. For over 30 years AMREL has supplied customized rugged solutions to the Defense market.

While we are best known for supplying land forces, we also have provided equipment to the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines.  They appreciate the durability of computer platforms in surviving humidity, salt fog, and other challenges of a marine environment. In fact, January’s Customization of the Month features a push-to-talk handheld that we did for the futuristic DDG. Read about it here. We don’t just sell rugged computers. We sell rugged customized solutions.

What do you think? Got any predictions you want?  Write editor@amrel.com.

 

DDG-1000 Shipboard Handheld COMMS

Most people know AMREL for its rugged mobile computers, but did you know that over 80% of the products that we sell are customized? Not only that but we are the only rugged solution provider that extends manufacturer’s guarantees to modifications and routinely customizes low volume orders at low-to-no NRE.

This month we begin a new blog feature that will highlight interesting customizations.  Our first customization to be spotlighted is a handheld communication device that we developed for the futuristic DDG-1000 destroyer. Supplying mission-critical equipment for marine environments presents very specific challenges, such as the ability to withstand salt fog and extreme humidity.  In this instance, special requirements, such as push-to-talk functionality, also had to be met.

DDG-1000 Shipboard Handheld COMMS

DDG push to talk

Capabilities:

Handheld device can be used as a PDA and a walkie-talkie; capabilities include Email, audio record/playback, video record/playback, wireless networking, VOIP, and data transmission/reception. Operates successfully in harsh military maritime conditions.

Client: U.S. Navy / U.S. Coast Guard

Customized Specs:

  • Push-To-Talk Soft Button
  • Integration
  • SNMP Application on the Mobile 6.1
  • FED-STD-595 26307
  • Grey color
  • Headset retention modification

Want to learn more about AMREL customization capabilities?

Call 800-882-6735 and ask to speak to Javier, our Senior Applications Engineer. You can also email us at cdinfo@amrel.com or upload your contact information by clicking here.

New ROCKY DB7 – Smallest, Fully Rugged, Handheld with Windows 7

AMREL announces the release of the ROCKY DB7 — an upgrade of the smallest, lightest, fully rugged handheld that can support standard Windows 7 and Linux Operating Systems (OS).

“The big difference is the new Intel® Atom™ processor,” explains Javier Camarillo, AMREL’s Senior Application Engineer. “The DB7 is a small platform designed for big applications, which can be very data heavy. So we added a more powerful processor and doubled the memory.”

The Intel® Atom™ processor consumes very little energy, which means the lightweight DB7 can run the same OS and applications as a laptop, but with significantly longer battery life. This reduces logistical burdens for field work and eliminates the need to modify standard programming for mobile devices.

“The DB7 platform was developed in response to the military’s emphasis on networking,” explains Mr. Camarillo. “They want real-time ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) data in the hands of the warfighter. This creates a need for a handheld computer that can transmit large encrypted files, operate in harsh combat conditions, and is small enough to fit into a cargo pants pocket. Despite its small size, the ROCKY DB7 has multiple configurable I/O ports.”

The ROCKY DB7 has been independently certified to meet military standards for ruggedness, including MIL-STDs 810G and 461F. The new DB7 has had its IP rating upgraded to an exceptionally rigorous 65. It is also fully compliant to FIPS 140-2, the encryption standard.

“Even though the ROCKY DB7 was originally designed for the challenging environments faced by Dismounted Infantry and Special Operation Teams, some civilians have done amazing things with it,” stated Mr. Camarillo. “We had one research scientist drag it through miles of an underground cave system. He needed a computer that was powerful, light to carry, and could survive brutal conditions, so the ROCKY DB7 was perfect.” Read how the DB7 helped install a sensor network in an extensive cave system at:  amrel.com/?p=5953

Some of ROCKY DB7’s target applications include Tactical Communications, Mobile Biometrics, and Robotic Command & Control. In addition, civilians are exploring its adoption for:

  • Utilities
  • Industrial
  • Construction
  • Mining
  • Test & Measurement
  • Fire
  • Health Safety
  • Insurance

Learn more about the ROCKY DB7 at computers.amrel.com/rocky-db7

New Unmanned Learning Method

An article posted in ExtremeTech is interesting, not only for the implications for unmanned systems, but also as an example of how a technology developed for one purpose can be used for something else entirely.

As noted in this blog, worldwide aging populations have generated interested in “social welfare” unmanned systems. These robots will assist the elderly with bathing, taking medications, cooking, and other Activities of Daily Living (ADL).

Programming every single ADL step is tedious, so the obvious option is to have the robots “learn” them.   As described in the article below, Artificial Intelligence currently needs large data sets that have been labeled or otherwise processed in order to “infer functions,” i.e. learn.

The folks at the RoboWatch project claim that they can enable robot learning by having them watch numerous You Tube instructional videos. Presumably, no labeling or processing is required.

ExtremeTech points out that this development could be combined with work on “real-time video summarization,” a technique designed to automate surveillance by detecting behaviors that are deemed suspicious.  RoboWatch’s project involves analyzing videos for universal steps that are essential in a process, while “video summarization” identifies anomalous actions that are correlated with criminal behavior.  It is easy to see how these two methods could work together.

In other words, a method for teaching robots how to cook eggs could one day be used to identify terrorist suspects. This example proves just how difficult it is to predict the impact of innovations.

What happens if RoboWatch’s learning method is applied to non-instructional videos? What if robots try to “learn” by watching action movies? Sexually explicit films? Political debates? People have trouble distinguishing reality from the fiction they see on televisions. How will this affect robots?

Will the future ushered in by advanced robot learning techniques be a dangerous one?  I have no idea, but I have a feeling things are going to get weird.

ExtremeTech article below:

Astute followers of artificial intelligence may recall a moment from three years ago, when Google announced it had birthed unto the world a computer able to recognize cats using only videos uploaded by YouTube users. At the time, this represented something of a high water mark in AI. To get an idea for how far we have come since then, one has only to reflect on recent advances in the RoboWatch project, an endeavor that is teaching computers to learn complex tasks using instructional videos posted on YouTube.

That innocent “learn to play guitar” clip you posted on your YouTube video feed last week? It may someday contribute to putting Carlos Santana out of a job. That’s probably pushing it; it’s more likely that thousands of home nurses and domestic staff will be axed long before guitar gods have to compete with robots. A recent groundswell of interest in bringing robots into the marketplace as caregivers for the elderly and infirm, in part fueled by graying population bases throughout the developed world, has created the necessity for teaching robots simple household tasks. Enter the RoboWatch project.

Most advanced forms of AI currently in use rely upon a branch of supervised machine learning, which requires large datasets to be “trained” on. The basic idea is that when provided with a sufficiently large database of labeled examples, the computer can learn to recognize what differentiates the items within the training set, and later apply that classifying ability to new instances it encounters. The one drawback to this form of artificial intelligence is that it requires large databases of labeled examples, which are not always available or require much human curation to create.

RoboWatch is taking a different tack, using what’s called unsupervised learning to discover the important steps in YouTube instructional videos without any previous labeling of data. Take for instance a YouTube video on omelet making. Using the RoboWatch method, the computer successfully parsed the video on omelet creation and catalog the important steps without having first been trained with labeled examples

robot learning 1Color code activity steps and automatically generated captions,

all created by the RoboWatch algorithm for making an omelet.

It was able to do this by looking at a large amount of instructional omelet-making videos on YouTube and creating a universal storyline from their audio and video signals. As it turns out, most of these videos will contain certain identical steps, such as cracking the eggs, whisking them in a bowl, and so on. When presented with enough video footage, the RoboWatch algorithm can tease out what the essential parts of the process are and what is arbitrary, creating a kind of archetypal omelet formula. It’s easy to see how unsupervised learning could quickly enable a robot to gain a vast assortment of practical household know-how while keeping human instruction to a minimum.

The RoboWatch project follows similar advances in video captioning pioneered at Carnegie Mellon University. Earlier this year, we reported on a project headed by Dr. Eric Xing, which seeks to use real-time video summarization to detect unusual activity in video feeds. This could lead to surveillance cameras with the built-in ability to detect suspicious activity. Putting these developments together, it’s clear unsupervised learning models using video footage are likely to pave the way for the next breakthrough in artificial intelligence, one that will see robots entering our lives in ways that are likely to both scare and fascinate us.

Russia’s Armed Unmanned Vehicle [VIDEO]

Check out the video below of Uran-9, the new Russian unmanned armored vehicle.

Pretty impressive, isn’t it? This thing packs:

  • 30mm 2A72 automatic cannon
  • Coaxial 7.62mm machine gun
  • Ataka Anti-Tank Guided Missiles

According to Defense Talk, it has “a laser warning system and target detection, identification and tracking equipment.”

Russia has big plans to promote Uran-9 in the international market where it “…will be particularly useful during local military and counter-terror operations, including those in cities.”

Not to be too much of a wet blanket, but why would anyone buy this?  Russia says that it will reduce personnel casualties, one of the prime benefits of unmanned systems.  I wonder if this is true.  For one thing, the remote operators are located in a mobile command unit. Is that safer than an armored vehicle? Is the operating range so great that the remote operators are significantly out of harm’s way?

For Russia’s target market, how significant are personnel casualties? The US is obviously not going to buy it (for one thing the American version would be called UranUS and yes, I wrote this whole article so I could use this joke). America pours a lot of money into its soldiers, so that they are the most expensive piece of equipment on any given battlefield. Other countries also invest a lot in their soldiers, but none do as much as the US. I bet for many countries, the loss of an armored vehicle is more expensive than the personnel casualties.  I realize that this sounds cold blooded, but as commanders decide where to commit their limited resources, they will do these calculations. Will they want to pay more for a system that has a greater number of points of failure?

Furthermore, there is a good chance that there will be no cost savings for personnel, even if an operator could drive multiple vehicles. The installation and maintenance of the mobile command center as well as the remote control systems themselves will require highly trained personnel.

Also, what will be the situational awareness of the remote operator as compared to one actually inside the vehicle? As a rule, remote operators have less. Will that leave the vehicle more vulnerable?

Of course, my doubts may be completely unfounded, and this thing may sell better than iPhones. But I can’t help feeling that this vehicle was designed not for practical reasons, but because somebody somewhere thought unmanned systems were cool.

I asked Richard Barrios, ex-Marine Ammo tech and aficionado of all things that go BOOM, to take a look at the video.  He agreed that the ordinance was impressive, but pointed out that the Geneva Convention prohibited these particular weapons from being used on personnel (as opposed to tanks and similar platforms).  This puts a crimp in Russia’s assertion that this is a counter-terrorist weapon. Richard and I agreed that Russia and its clients probably will not care about this particular problem.

Richard suggested that this might be a good defense vehicle for a base. I countered that there were cheaper and more practical alternatives. Richard agreed and said that he preferred Precision Remote’s .50 caliber M2 remote-controlled solution (see video here). BTW,  in the video you can see the ROCKY DK Rugged Tablet being used as a control unit for this .50 caliber solution.

Richard likes the Russian armored UGV, but like me, he harbors doubts about the usefulness of this platform as compared to a manned one. “I wouldn’t want to take it to war,” he said. “But I would want it as a toy.”

How to sell robots to the military

Recently, I was asked to answer a question on the social media site Quora.   I was asked, “How does a person get their robot design/prototype bought by the U.S. military?”  Here is my answer:

This is one of those “if you have to ask, forget about it” questions. Selling to the American military is a world in itself, and your best bet is to partner with someone who has direct experience with Defense acquisition.

I work for AMREL (American Reliance). It makes rugged computers that are the platforms for Operator Control Units for Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV). While I have never directly dealt with military procurement, I have had many conversations with salesmen who have.

Keeping in mind that I am not an expert, this is my general impression of what is involved:

  • Target the specific bureaucracy: What kind of unmanned system you make will determine who you sell it to. ARMY likes Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (TUAV). The NAVY’s Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System (AEODRS) is responsible for IED-detecting UGVs. The AIR FORCE flies the big Predator drones that you hear so much about in the news. (BTW, as you can tell from this paragraph, be prepared to learn acronyms. LOTS of acronyms.)

Keep in mind that the Department of Defense (DoD) is a bit like the universe, i.e. big, mysterious, and mostly invisible. Finding out who might want to buy your robot and who is the appropriate person to contact can be challenging.

  • Ninety percent of sales is listening: Nowhere is this more true than in military sales. I don’t care if your robot can travel backwards in time, and makes non-fattening chocolate cake; if it doesn’t meet their requirements, the DoD is not interested. Find out what THEY want and then make it. From time to time, various elements of military hold public events that vendors can attend. Sometimes it’s just a table-top tradeshow or big-time demos like the Robot Rodeo. These are valuable places to gain info. Do a net search, plan your travel itinerary, print up some datasheets, and above all LISTEN.
  • Be prepared to make changes, LOTS of changes: If the military is interested in your robot, it will go through an enormous amount of testing and approvals. This can take quite a bit of time. Large weapon systems have been known to spend decades in development. With every stage, you will receive feedback about what needs to be altered. End-user feedback is considered especially critical.
  • Be prepared to spend money: Traveling around the country and preparing the appropriate documentation are expensive undertakings. And that’s not even counting the expense of multiple prototypes. AMREL has carved out a niche for itself in customizations of rugged computers for low volume orders with low-to-no NRE. This enables developers to make economical prototypes for the reiterative development process.
  • You may end up selling to a big Defense contractor, rather than directly to the DoD. These guys are called “primes.” If you are making a garlic-sniffing submersible unmanned system, and Fat Cat, inc. holds the contract for this kind of robot, you have to sell to them. Just as you need to learn the intricate labyrinthine ways of the DoD, you are going to have to study the quaint and colorful traditions of Fat Cat if you want to do business with them. There are advantages and disadvantages to selling to primes, which is a whole other answer.
  • Be prepared to spend lots of time. I was at a conference in which about half a dozen representatives of Defense primes were up on a stage answering questions. When asked “How long does it take to get a contract,” the average answer was 5 years.
  • Make your robot cheap. The DoD may have more money than anyone else, but it’s under enormous pressure to be economical. They want solutions that save money.
  • Can you buy parts for your robots off the shelf? The DoD used to spend big bucks on specialty items. Not anymore. They want to buy parts at the local big box store. The magic word is “Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS).”
  • Does your robot work and play well with others? In this case, the magic word is “interoperability.” AMREL has been able to dominate the OCU market, because we came up with an interoperable solution that worked on multiple UGVs. Other companies created proprietary control systems that worked only on one robot. This caused a logistical nightmare for the DoD.
  • Don’t believe the headlines about corruption and incompetence. Yes, the Defense procurement process is a mess. Why is a whole other answer. But it’s not the fault of typical DoD personnel. By and large the people you encounter in the military and Defense are smart, dedicated, and honest. They are haunted by the specter that the equipment they procure may result in the death of American servicemen. If you have a product that can save lives, then you might just have yourself a sale.

ROCKY DT10 – Rugged, Sunlight-Readable Tablet with Keyboard

AMREL announces the release of the ROCKY DT10, an upgraded version of its sunlight readable, fully rugged tablet with a built-in keyboard.

“There are several significant upgrades,” explains Javier Camarillo, AMREL’s Senior Application Engineer. “Many will notice the bright 700 nits rating. Another visual upgrade is the display’s optical bonding, which is a special technique that reduces the refraction and reflection that occurs between the different layers of the display. This enhances sunlight readability, which is especially important since the DT tablet series is often used for outdoor applications.”

An additional major upgrade is its Intel® i7 processor. This gives ROCKY DT10 the power to process modern data-heavy applications, including ones that were once reserved solely for desktop use.

With its built-in QWERTY keyboard, the ROCKY DT10 is perfect for field and logistical applications. It gives you the mobility to go anywhere, and the ability to type reports once you’re there.

“We do a lot of customization,” stated Mr. Camarillo. “So we listen to what our customers want.  They told us they liked the portability of a tablet, but needed the functionality of a keyboard. Of course it had to be rugged, in order to operate in challenging environments.”

AMREL has been fielding rugged computers for over 30 years. As with any platform, our computers can be purchased as COTS or modified COTS to meet the specific requirements of your application.

The ROCKY DT10 may be used as a stand-alone tablet or for in-vehicle applications. Its hard drive can be easily removed as the situation in the field requires.

Specifications include:

  • Windows 7/Windows 8.1 / Windows 10
  • 9.0” XGA LCD, 1280 x 768, LED 700 nits
  • Resistive single-touch panel, Optical Bonding, Anti-Glare & Anti-Reflective
  • Intel Sandy Bridge i7-2610UE
  • 8 GB, DDR-III 1333 MHz
  • Intel® HD Graphics 3000
  • Removable 500GB 2.5” SATA II HDD (Upgradeable)
  • Solid state hard drives (SSHD) available
  • Options: Wireless LAN, WAN, PAN, GPS, Built-in Bluetooth
  • MIL-STD 810G, MIL-STD 461F Compliant
  • IP-54 (Dust-protected; splashing water)

The ROCKY DT10 is ideal for applications that demand portability, capability and ruggedness, including Defense, Oil & Gas, Mining, Inventory control, Warehouse operations, Meter reading, Agriculture, Port Container Control, Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, and Geological /Scientific Field Research.

Learn more about the ROCKY DT10 at computers.amrel.com/dt10/

AMREL in “The Martian”

If you have seen The Martian you may have noticed the appearance of our ROCKY DK10 rugged tablet. Using hexadecimal language, it’s Matt Damon’s only communication with Earth.

Although not rated for extraterrestrial use, the choice of the DK10 is not surprising.  The Hurt Locker, The Losers, Zero Dark Thirty, and other movies have all featured AMREL solutions.

Movie makers know what warfighters and Law Enforcement professionals know; when you need a product that will reliably operate in a challenging environment, choose AMREL.

DK10 Martian