New Rugged Mobile Network Equipment Saves Space & Power

AMREL announced that it is launching two new lines of rugged mobile network communication equipment:  HalfRack 19” and FullRack 19”.

“AMREL is mostly known for its mobile rugged computing solutions,” explains Kalvin Chen, AMREL’s Vice President of Operations.  “Our tablets, laptops and handhelds have been used for over 30 years by warfighters around the world.

“Working with multiple rugged mobile IT equipment suppliers can be a challenge for our clients.  To simplify procurement and technical hurdles in development and system integration, we have greatly expanded our offerings. Our goal is to provide one-stop convenience by supplying an unusually extensive line of rugged mobile network communication equipment.”

Equipment in AMREL’s HalfRack 19” line are fully rugged and fully functional, but only ¼ the size of normal rack-mounted devices. This compact form factor saves space, reduces heat, and decreases energy use. The HalfRack 19″ line includes switches, routers, network attached storage, VoIP, video matrix, and PDU.

AMREL is also supplying the rack-mounted, full-sized FullRack 19″ line. These fully rugged products include servers, computers, all-in-one, Cisco-based switches, routers, IP-phone, firewall, and KVM.

Both HalfRack 19” and FullRack 19” lines are designed to operate in the most challenging environments. They both fully comply with military’s ruggedness standards, including MIL-STD 810, MIL-STD 461, and MIL-STD 1275D. There is also an option for TEMPEST SDIP-27 Level A, B, or C.

In addition to the HalfRack 19” and FullRack 19” lines, AMREL is offering rack-mounted rugged displays, mini keyboards, power distribution unit, power supplies, accessories, and other peripherals.

See the updated product lines at:

Duffelblog: Satire or Truth?

The wonderful Duffelblog website specializes in military humor, usually from an insider’s perspective. I find the articles sharp, funny, and often revealing about what’s going on in today’s military.

The only problem is that the satirical stories are often indistinguishable from reality. For example, the supposedly funny headline Pentagon to Rename Confederate Bases for Army Values sounds totally plausible.  Another example is reprinted below from the Duffleblog website. You tell me: satire or truth?

New Battle Command Network Offers Unprecedented Micromanagement Opportunities

satire or truthFORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The U.S. Army unveiled its latest digital command and control system, allowing commanders at higher echelons to make decisions at increasingly lower levels of responsibility.

“We hear all this talk about Carl von Clausewitz and ’empowering subordinates’ in ARDP 3-0″ said Brig. Gen. William Burleson, Commander of the Mission Command Center of Excellence, referring to the Prussian officer’s influence on the Army’s latest operations manual. “But what I think we’re forgetting is that Clausewitz never said anything about empowering subordinates. The guy was actually a huge micromanager. With this new battle command network, we can micromange our troops in ways Clausewitz never dreamed of.”

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Officials at the Mission Command Center of Excellence demonstrated how commanders could monitor whether or not soldiers were wearing reflector belts through an “exquisite” computer network linked to imagery from surveillance drones. Other unique features allow generals to examine down to the individual soldier level, such as whether or not they had complied with mandatory Consideration Of Others (CO2) training.

Burleson added, “Leadership is based on mutual trust, and if you can’t trust us generals to make decisions, honestly, who can you trust?”

Army officials also noted that, by concentrating on mundane details like individual soldier equipment and company-level PT formations, senior Army leaders were freed from messy, time-consuming issues like budgeting, force levels, and formulating a clear exit strategy from Afghanistan.

Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army Chief of Staff, praised the new system.

“When I was a lieutenant — back before email — I could plan and execute an entire M-16 range by myself,” Odierno said. “But thanks to the advent of email in the 1980s, I had the ability to plan and approve the same M-16 range as a company commander. Now, thanks to our battle command networks, I can schedule, arrange, plan, and approve an entire M-16 range myself.”

“The great part about modern technology is that it allows us generals to re-live our glory days as 22-year old lieutenants.”

Ebola and The Art of War

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.” 

― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Fighting an epidemic is surprisingly similar to fighting a human enemy. For example, in both military and anti- epidemic campaigns there is a need for good intelligence, including situational awareness. Just as an army must determine the location of its human enemy, health-care workers must determine where the infections are occurring.

Determining the locations of Ebola infections has been extremely difficult. The affected areas have suffered from long civil wars as well as extreme political corruption. The population has a severe and probably warranted distrust of authorities. Combine this with the fact that Ebola is new in these countries, many people are reluctant to report cases or heed the advice of authorities. Thus, doctors and nurses must “win hearts and minds,” a task familiar to someone who has engaged in counter-insurgency operations.

As in any modern war, computers, networks, and information gathering /sharing play a significant role in battling this deadly disease. Just as generals worry about communicating with their front-line troops, the World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned with exchanging information with the affected population. Since approximately 40% of the affected populations use mobile phones, WHO is considering using text messages for educational outreach as well as a means for people to report cases. Mobile devices are also being used for communication between the outside world and those in quarantine.

In addition to determining the enemy/infection location, commanders of both military and anti-epidemic operations must secure the following information:

  • How many enemies /infected victims are there?
  • Where is the enemy/infection moving toward?
  • Where is the most effective place to put our resources (allied soldiers/doctors & health care workers)?

To answer the above questions, researchers who monitor military activities have utilized artificial intelligence and extensive data mining. For example, the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) examined publicly available satellite images and noticed unusual roads in a specific area of Sudan. Based on these images, the SSP accurately predicted a military incursion in this region.

Similar techniques are proving enormously helpful to public healthcare authorities. Let’s say there is a neighborhood in which a suspicious population is reluctant to share information with the authorities. If a satellite image reveals crowded parking lots near a hospital, and public records state there has been a jump in school absenteeism, an intelligence-gathering program can raise the index of suspicion for an outbreak in this specific area. Thus, an alarm can be raised, even when the locals are not cooperative. Indeed, among the new technologies, automated information systems may be the most significant in war against Ebola.

HealthMap may be the most important “smart machine” that gathers, analyzes, and displays information. Every hour, it uses text analysis algorithms to mine data from tens of thousands of Web pages in 15 different languages. The processed information is displayed on a Google Map (see below). HealthMap’s main claim to fame is that is spotted the current Ebola outbreak before WHO did. It has had over a million page views since mid-July.


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Considering the myriad of sources it draws information from, the simplicity of the displayed information is impressive.

HealthMap is not the only disease monitoring website and computer mapping program. Others include:

  • Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN)
  • International Relief and development (IRD) EbolaResponse
  • Intelligence Advanced Research Projects (IAR) Global Data on Events, Location and Tone (GDELT) is not a disease monitoring website per se. It collects and analyzes information about all human behavior on a social scale. Based on a story that didn’t even have the word “Ebola” in it, GDELT identified the Ebola outbreak one day before HealthMap did.

Monitoring programs, such as HealthMap, are not only useful in showing what is happening today, but also in predicting the future. Foretelling the path and severity of the Ebola outbreak has been enormously helpful in marshalling and assigning resources.

They have also been helpful in raising an alarm. If it were not for EbolaResponse’s and HealthMap’s catastrophic predictions about what an untreated Ebola outbreak would look like, it is unlikely that the world would have acted as swiftly and as strongly as it did. One researcher compared it to AIDs, which was around at least 20 to 30 years before we became aware of it in the 1980s. Can you imagine how many lives could have been saved if an anti-AIDS effort had begun in the 1960s?

One possible similarity between a military and an anti-outbreak campaign is the effectiveness of post-action outcomes. The United Sates has been very good at meeting objectives in planned military actions. However, our record has been less than perfect once the official war stops. In other words, we “win the war, but lose the peace.” The US supported Afghanistan guerillas who successfully ousted the Soviets from their country. However, we failed to do the necessary follow-up actions in order to build up and stabilize that country. A similar process occurred in Iraq.

Unfortunately, this pattern could very well happen with Ebola. Right now, the world is rallying to contain the outbreak. Once this modern plague is contained, will we continue to aid the affected countries in order to prevent a reoccurrence? In this instance, we hope the anti-Ebola campaign does not resemble our recent military activities.

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Remote-controlled .50 cal M2 [VIDEO]

Check out this video of a remote-controlled .50 caliber M2.  About 35 seconds in, you will notice the dual-screen mobile weapons control station.  Nicknamed “the DK Flipper,”  this fully rugged tablet has a separate display for power and video input. This customized DK10 tablet acts as a force multiplier by enabling a single person to control several Remotely Operated Weapon Stations (ROWS). Learn more at AMREL’s tablet customization page.

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Seven things you should know about FirstNet

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe First Responder Network Authority, known as FirstNet, was established by Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.  It is tasked with creating a single nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network.  Vendors are hungrily eyeing its $7 billion budget, while many public safety officials hope that it will finally provide leadership and relief for the long standing problem of interoperability.

Here are seven things you should know about FirstNet: Read more

Why cloud computing may not be big deal in 2013

cloud computing

The beginning of the New Year often marks an avalanche of stories enthusing about the “next big thing.” Usually, a glorious, completely transformed future is predicted due to the disruptive qualities of a new technology.

This article will be the first of a series in which I’ll try to let the steam out of a few commonly hyped trends.  To be clear, each of these technical innovations represents genuine change in the way we approach mobile computing.  I just think there are going to be bumps in the road.

Read more