Posts Tagged ‘Ipad


Ipads and smartphones

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Ok, I know when to say when.  I was wrong.  A few months ago, after using an ipad, I decided that they couldn’t really function in an emergency management role.  I assumed that because responders and emergency managers beat the crap out of equipment that the ipad would not survive use at an emergency scene.  I was wrong.  It’s getting used, a lot.  There is a lot of software that has been developed for it.  I was wrong.  The android platform hasn’t quite made it to a tablet yet.  That’s going to change.

There is a great discussion going on the IAEM group on LinkedIn regarding the use of smartphones and tablets.  I was really surprised at how ingenious some agencies are when it comes to using specially developed software and the use of off the shelf software on these devices.  A great point that was brought up is that no matter what you install on whatever devices you choose to use, be sure you know how to use it.  An emergency situation is not the time to learn software or how to use your device.  With that said, I again concede that Ipads are changing how information gets used and created during an emergency.  It’s all very new though and things are changing rapidly.  Who knows what the next revolution will be.  It seems that every week something new comes out and changes everything.  We as emergency managers need to watch tech trends as closely as we watch trends in emergency management.


iPad and Disasters

Steve Jobs while introducing the iPad in San F...

Image via Wikipedia

iPad and Disasters, This is a post from Eric Holdeman’s blog “Disaster Zone”.   The article refers to a EMA that is considering using Ipads in their EOC.  This blows my mind.  This is why I created this blog.  Now nothing against Eric, he is a very highly respected and experienced emergency manager but the concept of using an Ipad in an emergency situation scares the hell out of me.  The Ipad is an entertainment device.  It uses proprietary apps (read:cannot use current EM software), it has a single port (read:zero peripheral options), it can only run a single application at a time (can you really get by with one application and closing it to run something else?), the cost is very high compared to included features, you can’t replace the battery and you can’t upgrade any of the hardware (read:this thing will be a utterly useless in a year or so and you can’t upgrade it), and finally it’s fragile as hell.  So thats the bad.

Here’s the good!: There are many other flavors of tablets coming out on the market.  I do see their place and function in an EOC and other emergencies.  Their long battery life, lightweight, small size, and touch screen feature can be very useful.  So far there is only one company who is making a tablet that will run a regular OS, Hewlett Packard aka HP.  I would NOT recommend a tablet without an attached keyboard however.  The reason is that when you type for extended periods of time, the flat glass screens will irritate the hell out of your hand, don’t believe me?  Take you hand and start fake typing onto your table top.  It will get old very fast.  Keyboard keys have give for a reason.  Also, tablet laptops have a little more real estate inside to include better hardware options.  They are also built more robust and will not break like the giant Ipod I mean the Ipad.  If weight is an issue than you have bigger problems than picking a computer.  Modern laptops are very light and you can get some pretty compact computers now a days. Honestly, for emergency service use I would recommend a rugged or at least semi rugged laptop like the Panasonic Toughbooks or Itronix models.  The Ipad is a clever device that has gained a lot of popularity but I WOULD NEVER buy the current version.  First runs on technology are notoriously bad expenditures.  They are full of bugs and are prone to failure.  This is not an Apple thing, that’s an electronic thing.  All first generation electronics come out with limited testing and they can’t account for the failures that will come with day in and day out use by normal people.  Now take someone in emergency services who will beat the ever living hell out of it and see how well it does.

****UPDATE**** So the HP slate, the tablet that can run Windows 7 is apparently pretty disappointing.  To quote Engadget, it’s hardware is “meh”.  I am not surprised.  The hardware isn’t where it needs to be.  I am willing to concede that these are first runs and are a new form factor so we will see what the future holds.