In Vehicle Computing

Rugged Computers for Extreme Conditions

Is your computer rugged enough to withstand extreme conditions? After a summer of unbearable heat waves hitting places all over the world, with winter and snow quicking approaching Upstate New York, the extreme temps got us thinking. The US covers 3.797 million square miles of land with normal climates ranging from cool and rainy to hot and desert, so how are there computers that can withstand a diverse set climate and extreme conditions year-round?

The answer: ruggedness.  One of the most important and differentiating factors when evaluating mobile tech solutions. Ruggedness is on a spectrum ranging from non, semi and fully-rugged.  Fully rugged computers are the highest standard of durability protecting against extreme conditions.  There are rugged options for all device types including tablets, laptops and convertibles.

Certified rugged computers

In order to be a certified rugged computer, the device must go through a set of standard testing.  However, there are differences in testing based on the certification.  While there are a variety of rugged distinctions, the most common for public safety technologies are IP65, IP66, MIL-STD 461G and MIL-STD-810G. 

IP65 is part of the ingress protection testing and protects against the infiltration of dust, foreign objects and liquids. The IP65 designation means that the object is completely protected against dust and jets of liquid.

IP66 is an extension of IP65 and therefore also withstands dust and jets of liquid. The difference is that this rating level provides protection against water pressure at 14.5 pounds per square inch (PSI) with no negative effects to the device. 

MIL-STD are standards established by the US military and have become the international standard for testing the durability of a computer.  MIL-STD 461G focuses on the EMC and EMI requirements for all electrical and electronic equipment. 

MIL-STD 810G rating protects against the majority of environmental factors.  The certification refers to the ability to withstand extreme conditions such as being dropped onto concrete or weather conditions of extreme temperature, dust and rain.  The rigorous testing ensures devices can withstand:

  • Low pressure (altitude)
  • High temperature
  • Low temperature
  • Temperature shock
  • Humidity
  • Blowing dust
  • Vibration
  • Drop
  • Freeze/thaw

Let’s look into some of these..

Extreme temperatures

Whether it’s extreme heat or below freezing temperatures, each can impact the overall performance of the equipment.  The ability to take a computer out for patrol or on-scene has revolutionized the investigation process.  However, if a computer either overheats or freezes, then the benefits of the computer are nonexistent.  

Drop protection

The nature of public safety officer’s duty is not sitting at a desk from 8-5 every day.  Rather, they see a wide array of conditions.  Protect against drops during irregular, rough work conditions with a rugged computer.

How rugged do I need?

While protection against extreme conditions is valuable, deciding between semi or fully rugged is dependent on the needs of the department.  Semi-rugged devices are still measured against high standards and have enhanced durability compared to non-rugged devices, making it a sound option for departments.  Whereas a fully rugged device is a great option for those teams that face extreme conditions on a daily basis.

The wide range of models, device types and added features, like ruggedness, help departments choose the right solution to fully meet their needs.  If you want to read more about choosing the right solution, then check out this blog.  Or want to work with one of our trusted reps, then contact us!

The Right Solution for Your Fleet

Whether it’s a refresh or equipping new vehicles, outfitting an entire fleet isn’t always easy. Between product options, safety, technology advancements, budgets, RFPs, contracts, and timing, the buying process can be overwhelming and long.  

From our 20 years of public safety experience, we have put together a quick cheat sheet of things to consider in the process of choosing the right solution.   

Computing

Patrol vehicles have morphed into mobile offices for public safety officials.  Vehicles are now equipped with the right tools giving officers the ability to do their job from anywhere at any time.  The computing device plays a huge role in outfitting a vehicle because it is what connects all the law enforcement tools together.  

With the overwhelming number of different options to choose from, where should one start?  Two main factors that contribute to the final decision are device form and durability. 

Device Form

Getac offers rugged laptops, tablets and convertibles.  Each style has its benefits: 

  • Tablet: This device achieves the best ergonomic footprint within the vehicle.  The compact device saves space while also being airbag compliant.  Placement can be at eye level and is the best setup for two-man patrols because the passenger can also view the screen.  While this solution provides the best in-car setup, tablets are built as is therefore there’s no option to upgrade memory or hardware after purchase.  However, modern tablets have come a long way in computing power from iPods and devices running android software in the past.
  • Laptop: Ideal for single-man patrol because of the ease of portability. It allows for officers to take the single unit (screen and keyboard) between vehicle, home and office.  While laptops are a little bulkier, the advantage to this form is they typically include CD drives, additional USB ports, Ethernet ports for all your connected devices.  Additionally, memory and hard drives are upgradable while in the field and battery life is longer.
  • Convertible: Offers the best of both worlds.  It has the advantages of being mounted like a tablet with the ease of portability like a laptop.  

Durability

Rugged versus semi-rugged is a key distinguisher in a patrol computer.  While a fully rugged computer seems ideal, they are significantly more expensive and was created to withstand extreme conditions (built with high-drop, water and dust protection).  Conditions that not every officer will encounter on a daily basis.  

Semi-rugged computers are built tougher than ever.  Today, semi-rugged meets the MIL-STD 810G standards for use in a police car.  This includes vibration, altitude, spill-resistant, no-fault coverage.  Additionally, semi-rugged reduces the cost of ownership beyond the initial purchase cost, because for example, out-of-warranty parts are cheaper to replace than fully-rugged.  Overall, a semi-rugged device meets and exceeds patrol and typical field use standards for a lower cost than a rugged device.   However, in extreme climates or with particularly rough officers, rugged computers may be the best option for you.

Mounting

The right mounting solution plays a critical role in the vehicle workspace due to potential safety implications. Invasive mounting impedes the safety of the officers by impacting airbag deployment and windshield and mirror visibility.  Brite focuses on creating safe and ergonomic in-vehicle workspace while incorporating all technology needs. 

Additional features that relate to the mounting that Brite incorporates are low-profile consoles, cup holders, USB charging ports and pen holders. 

Connectivity

Frankly, having the right computer and a mounting solution is useless without a good connection.  Connection and communication aid in both productivity and safety by providing constant access to databases and communication.  Reliable connectivity is even more important. Law enforcement departments can utilize the public safety-specific networks – FirstNet and Band 14.   These networks provide law enforcement with uninterrupted connections.  Brite is partnered with top technology partners, including Sierra Wireless, that ensure devices remain connected at all times.  

Each department has its own unique set of needs and finding the right solution to meet them while maintaining safety and productivity.  Let Brite help you and your department find the right solution today!

In Vehicle Technology: A Look Back and What is Coming Next

In Vehicle Technology: A Look Back and What is Coming Next

Police Officers are constantly adapting their equipment to their environment and daily demands. The concept of the cruiser being a mobile office was developed by those who worked long shifts and thought: “What could be added to this car to make my job easier? Make me more comfortable? Help me to hunt down dangerous offenders?”

Mouse Ears and Bench Seats

Looking back to a former patrol car, a 1979 Plymouth Fury, there were no rotating lights – just the two can lights on the roof solid red to front and flashing amber to the rear. Of course, they looked like ears on the black and white rodent thus the term mouse ears. Mounted between them was the siren which was much louder inside the car than outside. The Plymouth had a radio with a single base frequency and two tactical frequencies. As soon as the officer got out of the car, he/she was out of contact with the station. Throughout the 1970ѕ, it was innovations coming from individual police officers that improved the mobile offices.

The Age of the Add-on

Beginning in the 1980ѕ, larger agencies started to introduce portable two-way radios and computer terminals in vehicles. These early Mobile Digital Terminals (MDT) provided the officer with access through their agency to motor vehicle information, some wanted persons databases like the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and local stolen vehicle information. Early MDTs were simple gateways to whatever mainframe computer your agency was using. Unlike your desktop PC, laptop or the computer likely in a cruiser today, MDTs could not perform simple computing tasks like word processing or a calculator.

There were many challenges to the early MDTs. For instant, through the 1990ѕ, installation of new electronic equipment was done on an ad-hoc basis. Because new technology was added inter the police cruiser as an afterthought, officer safety was not at the top of the list.

Early police vehicles had bench seats. So, terminals were mounted on a pole in front of the dashboard, between the passenger and the driver. For the driver or the passenger to access the terminal it was mounted on a swivel. At first, a resistance ring was used so that the terminal did not swing freely. However, police work is 24/7 and, except for maintenance periods, cop cars are often handed off from shift to shift. Constant use weakened the swivel resistance mechanism so that it wasn’t long before the terminal swung with the motion of the vehicle, striking your knees.

Police equipment is exposed to extreme temperature variations and constant use. Today’s technology has been improved and adapted so that it is highly usable in the field. The ad-hoc period of police mobile computing brought about many of the innovations used today like real computing power in the vehicle, technology adapted to your environment, and improved maintenance.

These seat bolt mounted monitors would be accompanied by a CPU box in the trunk creating the 3 piece MDT. This made any maintenance that needed to be done on either the vehicle or the computer nearly impossible. Moving forward, the industry saw huge laptops that would obstruct the view of the driver and endanger the passenger by block airbags. The over-sized computers were deemed necessary as they could withstand the harsh environment. Now, the key to the best MDT is having the correct screen size, but not over bearing in a shrinking cockpit, while being lightweight to allow officers to remove the equipment form the vehicle to take them on scene.

Today and in the Future

There are many aspects of technology that have improved police work. The most efficient ways of improving this technology is to hear from the people that use it every day. Brite has seen police vehicles move from bench seats and bulky radios to tactical consoles and sleek tablets. In car technology today has drastically changed in a short period. This is driven by the evolving need to serve and protect our communities.

The days of leaving the car and not being connected to headquarters is over. Now, officers have modem technology to allow a police officer to turn their vehicle into a hotspot, connect all devices to the internet to receive data and take their computer further onto the scene. Tablet solutions that can easily be removed from the car, creating a truly mobile platform, are even becoming common in many agencies.

Considering the future, mobile vehicle technology must continue to adapt to the changing environment to provide police officers with the best equipment to protect our communities efficiently.

Brite’s tablet solution was built by police officers, for police officers and has adapted over the years to meet the needs of police officers and first responders.

Interested in learning more about Brite’s in-vehicle solutions? Contact us and connect with your rep today!

Getac B360: The Newest Rugged Laptop

The Getac B360 laptop is the newest rugged computer to hit the market. As the next generation of the flagship Getac B300 laptop, the B360 is lighter, faster – and just as rugged. The combination of what Getac is known and loved for with new, sleek technology makes it the ideal rugged laptop solution to keep officers connected and efficient.

The Getac B360’s out-of-the-box standard configuration meets the everyday needs of officers. Additional customizable options allows every department to create the perfect solution, unique to its use. Brite’s Account Executive, Joe Eiskant demos the unit and outlines the configuration options in the video below.

The B360 is the laptop for public safety, but why Getac?

As a longtime Getac partner, we want to highlight three reasons why our customers nationwide continue to select Getac as their mobile computing solution:

  1. While we’re talking about the Getac B360 laptop, that’s just one device in a diverse lineup of computing solutions including tablets, convertibles and laptops. Explore ‘A Screen for Every Need’ to see the entire lineup.
  2. The fully rugged computers are built withstand extreme conditions, which means they’re built to last the day-to-day handling. Learn about rugged computing.
  3. Technology fails and Getac’s standard bumper-to-bumper warranty is the best out-of-box warranty on the market to protect your technology investment. Learn more about it here.

The Getac B300 changed rugged computing, its replacement the Getac B360 does not disappoint. Get started on finding the right MDT solution for your department here.

The Latest Mobile Technology | Virtual Conference Series

Transforming a vehicle into a safe, ergonomic and functional office space takes the right combination of mobile technology.  To help break through the clutter, we’re bringing you quick, 15-minute videos highlighting top public safety technologies that are vetted and proven pieces in building a complete in-vehicle solution. 

In our lineup, there’s mobile computing with Getac, connectivity and communications with Sierra Wireless and license plate recognition with Rekor.  We break down why each is essential in creating your custom in-vehicle solution.

Getac | Mobile Computing

With Getac’s rugged lineup of laptops, tablets and convertibles, there’s a computer solution to meet your unique needs and use cases.

 

Sierra Wireless | Connectivity and Communications

Ensure your technology stays connected to the latest networks – including FirstNet and Band 14 with reliable equipment from Sierra Wireless.

 

Rekor | ALPR

Rekor revolutionized the stagnant LPR market combining Artificial Intelligence and LPR technology, bringing ALPR to departments with 99.02% accuracy.

 

Interested in learning more about the technologies and how Brite’s proven process backed up a strong team of reps, project managers and engineers is here to help? Let’s talk.

A Screen for Every Need (ft. Getac Models)

Does it ever amaze you how many options there are? Whether we’re talking pizza toppings, laundry detergent or computers, there’s always different options or configurations.  While each serves a distinct purpose, it can make it an overwhelming process to find the perfect solution.  Now we’re not exactly experts in detergent (maybe self-proclaimed pizza experts), but after 20 years in the public safety and computer space, we know a thing or two about choosing the right MDT solution.  

When it comes to MDTs, there are different computer types (laptop, tablet, convertible), processors, battery life, add-on accessories, etc.  However, a key feature to consider to help guide the direction of your solution is screen size.    

Screen size is an important factor because it impacts the functionality and portability of the device.  Before diving into screen sizes, there are two main areas to consider:    

First: Job Function

If you are on the frontlines (patrol, motors, detectives, jails), then rugged tablets and notebooks are the best solutions for dash-mounted vehicles (cruisers, SUVs and motorcycles) and out in the field at scenes. For these users, it’s important to have the flexibility for report writing, whether in-vehicle or in-station. 

Second: The Workspace (aka The Vehicle) 

Since it’s important to be able to take the computer on patrol or in the field, having it fit in the vehicle is the second factor to consider.  A common challenge is the constrained space for both the computer and docking station. 

Two things to think about: 

  • Do you want officers to take the units in and out of the vehicles?
  • How big is your fleet and what types of vehicles does it include? (Some MDTs fit better with certain vehicle types.)

A screen for every need + quick takes

So now that you’ve thought about who will be using the device, where they will be using it and how they will be using it, let’s run through 7 Getac models and the quick take for each.  

T800 – 8” Fully Rugged Tablet 

Perfect for: Motorcycles 

Quick take: The 8” screen fits within the vehicle, but still comes fully rugged with Windows Pro System.

UX10 – 10” Fully Rugged 2-in-1

Perfect for: Motorcycles and paramedics 

Quick take: Benefits of a full lightweight tablet with a fully detachable keyboard.

F110 – 11.6” Fully Rugged Tablet 

Perfect for: Patrol

Quick take: The best stay-in-vehicle solution.

V110 – 11.6” Fully Rugged Convertible Notebook

Perfect for: Patrol

Quick take: Convertible style keeps the keyboard attached at all times, making it easy to use wherever. (Bonus: Commonly mounted in-vehicle as a tablet with articulating keyboards.) 

K120 – 12.5” Fully Rugged (Tablet or Notebook) 

Perfect for: Patrol

Quick take: As user preference shifts towards larger screens, the bigger and brighter displays meet those needs while the option to be mounted as a tablet or notebook provides flexibility.  

B360 – 13” Extreme Rugged Notebook

Perfect for: Patrol

Quick take: For those in the field with extreme conditions, this hits the trifecta of a perfect balance of power, size and weight

A140 – 14” Fully Rugged Tablet

Perfect for: Larger patrol vehicles

Quick take: The largest display is beneficial in larger vehicles with more space than sedans. 

The selection

There are a lot of variables when choosing the right computer solution for your fleet.  Narrowing down the options based on features and functionality helps ease the process.  To further help navigate the process, we outlined other points to consider when choosing the right solution here.  

As always, our reps are here to work alongside you to identify your must-haves, explore different solution options, provide demos and much more.  To get in touch with your local rep, contact us here


Getac Model Overview Series: Ft. A140, F110, V110 Computers

Interested in Getac’s A140, F110 or V110 models for your fleet? 

These popular models are part of Getac’s powerful mobile computing lineup that help keep officers connected and productive whether at the station, on patrol or out in the field. To help in your search for the perfect mobile computing solution, our own Public Safety Account Executive Jim Foos demos each model below. 

However, before we jump into the overviews let’s look at ‘Why Getac?’.  As each department and officer has unique needs, Getac utilizes its years of experience and expertise to offer a wide array of solutions for everyone. 

We want to highlight a few reasons why our customers nationwide have selected Getac solutions: 

  • Diverse lineup of computing solutions – tablets, convertibles and laptops
  • The fully rugged computers can withstand extreme conditions
  • The standard bumper-to-bumper warranty is the best out-of-box warranty on the market.  Learn more about it here.

 

 

If you’re interested in a more in-depth overview and conversation, then please contact us to connect with your local rep to schedule a meeting! 

Getac A140 Tablet Overview

 

Getac F110 Tablet Overview

 

Getac V110 Convertible Overview

 
Scroll to Top