6 technologies that will grab your attention at FOSE

The GCN Lab offers a few ideas on new products worth checking out during this year's FOSE exposition.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. OK, so perhaps another holiday already has a similar song associated with it. But for those of us looking for the latest and greatest technology aimed squarely at the federal government, there’s nothing quite like FOSE. The largest expo of government-related IT products and services in the world once again graces Washington, D.C., from March 23 to March 25. 1105 Government Information Group, publisher of GCN, produces the FOSE trade show.

Because government employees and contractors can enter for free to see all the wonders on display — everyone else must pay $50 — there is no reason not to soak up the sunny future of government technology.

This year, the amazing things you’ll see on the show floor run the gamut from emergency network crash carts in new portable formats to degaussing hardware designed to destroy all your data in seconds, if necessary. FOSE will feature everything from brand new office software for feds and incredibly powerful handheld communications devices to specialized tools for use by the military and law enforcement.

But what if you have only a limited amount of time on the show floor and don’t have a nice, portable air-conditioned tent like the GCN labbies have to camp out in all week? Well, have no fear, because we’re pointing out some of the coolest and most innovative products that you shouldn’t miss. It’s a bit like pointing out the tip of the iceberg, and we all know from the Titanic how much of that ice is unseen underwater. But here is a sampling of things you should be sure to check out on the show floor — not counting all the keynote speeches and seminars.

A Miniature Sherlock Holmes

No, the Wi-Fi Investigator from Digital Certainty doesn’t come with a deerstalker cap. That might make it too obvious. The Wi-Fi Investigator is the first Wi-Fi locating tool that can determine the specific location of a suspect 802.11b/g device without requiring investigators to approach the target and risk revealing their inquiry. It’s noteworthy because it requires no prior access to the physical infrastructure or setup of antennas and other monitoring devices. It’s battery operated and weighs less than five pounds.

The Wi-Fi Investigator is the only tool that delivers location findings in terms of precise Global Positioning System coordinates, in addition to indicating direction and distance to the target. This enables investigators and auditors to easily specify locations in requests for search warrants or immediately apprehend suspect devices, including laptops, pocket PCs, smart phones, wireless cameras and network access points.

Watch out wireless bad boys because the feds might be on your trail, and you won’t even know it. Begin your search for this detective at Booth 1240.

Where in the World Is…

It’s not just Carmen Sandiego you can find with the new Getac PS236, but just about anyone and anything. The PS236 is a handheld communications powerhouse with built-in GPS and wireless wide-area network, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities.

The tiny unit offers a variety of additional features, including a built-in 3-megapixel auto-focus camera, an altimeter, an electronic compass, extended battery life, real-time voice and data communications, and as much as 12G of internal storage. And it doesn’t matter if you’re in the rain forest or arctic because this baby is fully rugged, meeting even the tough military specifications.

Using Getac's proprietary Geo-Tagging application, users can quickly tag various geographic information, including GPS, E-Compass and altimeter readings in a JPEG file and then transmit that information anywhere in the world. You'll know not only where something is but also its altitude and compass heading.

All you have to do to find it is visit Booth 3010. After that, you might never be lost or out of contact with your operations center ever again.

Code Blue

Every data center has one thing in common: crashes. Though with luck, those don’t happen too often. To combat this debilitating problem, every data center also has at least one crash cart.

Network administrators often have love/hate relationships with the huge and cumbersome devices used to gain quick console access to servers on the fritz. We’ve seen some that barely fit between the isles of more crowded server farms.

But the Portable Crash Cart (PCC) from ABR Innovations aims to change all that. Making its first appearance, PCC is a full-featured data center crash cart contained in a stylish backpack. The backpack’s portability allows a panicked systems administrator to quickly grab it and dash to a data center cabinet to access a fallen server. Or it can just be stored in the admin room.

When needed, the whole cart can be hung from a standard data center cabinet. Once in place, the keyboard and mouse fold down to provide a stable surface for easy typing. PCC then hooks up to servers with a single quick-connect cable that provides industry standard connections.

So take a huge load off your back figuratively by adding a much smaller one physically, and see why those bulky carts’ days are numbered. Try on one of these cool new backpacks at Booth 2337.

This Tape Will Self-Destruct In 3, 2, 1…

Sometimes the barbarians are literally at the gate. In a situation where an embassy or government office is in danger of being overrun, employees need to erase data on their drives quickly and completely.

The Proton T-4 from Proton Data Security can fill that need. The National Security Agency certifies degaussing equipment that is as strong as 5,000 Oerstead — a unit of measurement that shows magnetic strength — and the T-4 meets that level. But the unit exceeds that standard and can actually produce 13,300 Oerstead, making it one of most powerful tabletop devices on the planet. At just 128 pounds, it can put electromagnetic pulse technology right on your desktop.

Don’t let any of your electronic devices fall into the T-4 when you visit it, and witness the must-see demo at Booth 1304.

Who You Gonna Call? No, Really?

Smart phones are pretty amazing these days. They are more like enterprise clients than phones. But what happens when one stops working or starts working the wrong way?

Normally, help desks can handle calls about malfunctioning computers with a variety of tools, and in some cases, a technician take full remote control of a quirky desktop. But what if the problem is with a phone? What can be done?

Zenprise Remote Control, from Zenprise, can add that functionality to technicians who are trying to fix phones.

The software enables help-desk representatives situated thousands of miles away to remotely connect and control a user’s smart-phone screen. Users no longer need to describe their problems over the phone, and help-desk representatives no longer need to issue instructions by phone. Problems are solved faster, with far fewer frustrations for everyone involved. Moreover, centralizing support functions allows an IT organization to reduce its overall smart-phone support costs.

So the next time your phone starts to get a mind of its own, you might be able to simply call your help desk and say, “take a look at this,” assuming you visited Booth 2408 sometime during FOSE.

Storage in A Snap

If you need to quickly add storage to an existing system, the RamSan-20 from Texas Memory Systems has got the card for you. The RamSan-20 features a 450G drive on a tiny PCIe card. It has onboard processors, ultracapacitors and enterprise-grade SLC chips. They are engineered for extreme efficiency, performance and reliability without affecting host performance in any way. The drivers are lightweight and can be easily adapted for open systems and custom usage.

The thin-driver implementation makes the RamSan-20 portable for use in specialized government platforms. And it’s designed to last for at least 12 years. If you don’t have 12 years to spend at FOSE, be sure to stop by Booth 2837 for a quick demo of snap-in storage.