FOSE 2009

In Best of FOSE awards, government wins

Products at this year's IT expo display innovation with a focus on government

As we do every year, Government Computer News’ writers, editors and technical support staff scoured the floor for the most innovative and practical technologies at the FOSE government information technology trade show put on by GCN’s parent company, 1105 Government Information Group.

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Choosing the Best of FOSE winners is never an easy task, and more than 100 products were submitted for review this year. Like all activities during the economic recession, the FOSE show was a bit smaller than in the past. But if anything, the quality of the new products has improved, and vendors seemed to have thought hard about what potential government customers were seeking.

"One of the things that struck me as a judge this year was the level of innovation found in a lot of the winning entries," said contest coordinator John Breeden, who leads the GCN Lab.

"The other interesting trend was expected but nonetheless impressive: That is the way that some products were targeted straight at the government like a laser and really would not find too much of a market outside government circles," he added.

Here are the winners in each category.

Desktop computers: Ace Computers' Ace Lightning 200.

This unique computer has an L-shaped chassis and an integrated mount for LCD monitors, allowing you to use any LCD from 15 to 24 inches in an all-in-one package. It could appeal to government offices where space is at a premium. The system is based on Intel motherboards and Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors.

Displays: Hyundai IT's 3-D LCD.

Three-dimensional displays have been around for a while, but Hyundai IT — yes, it's a division of the South Korean car maker — did a good job of designing this one. The monitors are available in sizes from 24 to 52 inches, which no doubt will appeal to gamers. But we could also see employees at Veterans Affairs Department hospitals or Defense Department and intelligence agencies putting them to good use.

Handheld devices: Trimble Yuma.

This rugged handheld computer is perfect for law enforcement and military duties or any government job that requires travel in potentially unfriendly climes. It meets Mil-Std 810F standards for drops, vibration and humidity, and when you return to the office, you can place it in a docking station and use it as a full-fledged desktop PC. It measures 5.5 inches by 9 inches by 2 inches, weighs just 2.6 pounds and features a 7-inch sunlight-readable WVGA color touch screen. It has a 1.6 GHz processor, 1G of RAM and a 32G solid-state hard drive. It has two built-in Web cameras, one facing the screen and one facing out.

Networking equipment: Motorola’s AP-7131 wireless access point.

This is the first 802.11n wireless access point we've seen that simultaneously supports client access, mesh backhaul and security. It is easy to set up and run on complex multitiered wireless networks, and it includes Motorola's AirDefense wireless security software.

Portable PCs: Lenovo’s ThinkPad W700ds.

This is the first laptop PC we've seen that has two screens — a second 10.6-inch screen pulls out from behind the primary 17-inch one. We know that many government employees have more than one monitor connected to their CPUs, but the ThinkPad W700ds could be especially useful to those who work with imaging software. You can put your canvas on one screen and keep all your controls on the pullout screen. The unit comes with a color calibrator that allows you to adjust the display to match Pantone colors. It’s best to think of this muscular machine as a mobile workstation. It comes with dual-core or quad-core Intel processors, an Nvidia Quadro FX graphics card with as much as 1G of dedicated video memory, dual hard drives with Redundant Array of Independent Disks capability, and an option to run solid-state disks.

Security hardware: Hewlett-Packard Co.'s HP Access Control Smartcard Solution for U.S. Government.

This optional feature for HP's workgroup multifunction printers (MFPs) allows government agencies to use smart cards, such as DOD’s Common Access Cards, to control the scanning, copying and faxing features workers can use. When a user inserts a CAC, the MFP will query Active Directory for a set of permissions. HP had government agencies’ mandate to provide employees with smart identification cards in mind when it designed this feature.

Security software: Secure64 Software's DNS Signer.

Anybody who has followed the news about vulnerabilities in Domain Name System servers knows that government agencies are struggling to meet a year-end deadline of deploying DNS Security Extensions. DNS Signer automates the process of signing DNS zones, thereby eliminating one of the biggest challenges in deploying DNSsec. It also handles key management and can scale to hundreds of thousands of zones.

Desktop software: Smart Technologies' Smart Meeting Pro.

This interactive whiteboard software allows teams in as many as 16 offices to collaborate remotely.

Enterprise software: Hatha Systems' KDM Workbench for Cobol.

This software can map the internal workings of a large Cobol program using the source code, byte code or binary file. That information can be useful in proving the security properties of a program and assessing how changes to the code would affect various parts of the program. Because it uses the Object Management Group’s Knowledge Discovery Metamodel standard, the resulting map could be used as a basis for building a replenishment program in Java or another modern programming language.

Storage: Solid Access Technologies' USSD 200 Model SPO.

Solid-state drives have advantages over optical drives, including faster read times and better reliability, but they are still much more expensive. The USSD 200 is the first 16G model to cost less than $10,000, bringing it into the realm of financial feasibility for large data storage networks.

Peripherals: Digital Identification Solutions' EDIsecure LCP 9000 Laser Color Personalization System.

This tool prints identification cards that can't be tampered with. You can incorporate any combination of advanced anti-counterfeiting techniques, such as micro text, tactile laser-generated effects, high-resolution gradient ultraviolet writing, electronic guilloche — a technique of finely braiding intricate patterns onto the card — and digital watermarking.

Other (two winners): Motorola’s Total Enterprise Access and Mobility voice-over-wireless local-area network solution.

This package smartly bundles all the voice and data conduits mobile workers need to stay in contact and links them via a central management console. Each user is issued a push-to-talk Motorola smart phone, and organizations can set up equipment that connects them to traditional phone and voice-over-IP connections. The system can scale to handle as many as 4,500 users.

The second winner in this category is Wiremold/Legrand's Data-Fense Secure Raceway. Raceways are modular conduits for running cables throughout the interior of a building. This product resulted from a DOD request for a raceway system that could not be broken into. Most are made of plastic and have removable front panels, but Wiremold/Legrand’s components are made from 16-gauge steel and can only be accessed through lockable entry boxes.

Judge's Award: CMS Products' BounceBack Ultimate.

This software provides backup for remote workers with minimal recovery time. You can copy everything from the drive of a desktop PC — including the operating system, partitioning and formatting — to a USB or other portable hard drive and perform incremental backups thereafter. If the hard drive fails, plug in the portable drive and you can boot your PC from the backup version.

Like all the Best of FOSE winners, BounceBack combines the innovative with the practical, allowing government workers to do their jobs more effectively. And in the end, that is what technology is all about.

The judging panel consisted of John Breeden, Gregory Crowe, Joab Jackson, William Jackson, Patrick Marshall, Trudy Walsh, William Winton and Rutrell Yasin.

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