To get the best out of communications anywhere, anytime powerful computing has taken to the road in a revolutionary synergy between hardware and capability as Michelle Winny, Editor of Electronics finds out from BVM with its newly inaugurated mobile division.

Mobile communication are rapidly advancing and are going from strength to strength. To address market demands and to focus on this burgeoning technological revolution, BVM Mobile has been set up, which is a new operating division of BVM, who are a hardware development specialist company . The mobile division was inaugurated to develop, bring to market and support the company’s new Mobile PC family. The division focuses on powerful, go-anywhere PC capability that opens up a new dimension in providing the power of desktop computing and communications capability to mobile site locations, transport and machine to machine (M2M) applications.

Available in several standard configurations and as a configurable application-specific unit to meet individual customer requirements, OB100/200 mobile computers are housed in a rugged small form factor metal enclosure, enabling it to be easily installed in many different locations. Needing only an external 12VDC power source, these mobile PCs can also have a full car battery power supply with cranking delay and ignition control.

The key differences between the Mobile PC family and the ubiquitous laptop, tablet and Smartphone units lies in the fact that Mobile PC is a full industrial computer, which, by integrating several different technologies, is able to accept inputs from a range of sources, store and manipulate the data and act as a communications hub. In addition to its PC capabilities, it ­provides, as standard, 3.5G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; GPS is also embedded. Its key strengths are the provision of wire-free internet access combined with powerful computing, enabling it to be deployed across a wide range of scenarios: the possible applications are virtually endless:

Application specifics

*Providing a mobile server for delivery vehicles to offer location, routing, engine management and communication capabilities.

*Computing capability in a Portacabin at the start of a green field development.

*Capturing video images, time and GPS location data on buses as a defence against fraudulent personal injury compensation claims.

* Supporting location specific advertising on trains and buses.

* Controlling motorway signage ­displays.

* Interfacing with radio-controlled fire detection systems on construction sites.

* Storing images from IP-based security cameras.

* Machine-to-Machine communications: embedded or stand-alone mounting to control and manage functionality, capture and communicate data from sensors and provide interoperability with other machines.

All these applications, which demonstrate the wide scope of potential uses for the OB100/200 mobile PC units, are currently either in use in the field or under discussion with national and international customers.

Designed, developed and manufactured in the UK, as standard, there are various combinations of processor, memory and I/O options available for the OB range of mobile PCs. Independent of the configuration, a key feature of the family is that all versions are provided with extensive communications capabilities. They support multiple 3 and 3.5G WAN protocols: HSUPA, 3G offering up to 5.7Mbit/s; HSDPS 3.5G up to 14.4Mbit/s and UMTS 3.5G with a theoretical 45Mbit/s download bandwidth. Wi-Fi, conforming to the 802.11b/g/n specifications, offering 11, 54 and 600Mbit/s raw data rates and Bluetooth short-range radio connectivity are built in. Embedded GPS capability significantly extends the functionality of the units into mobile applications.

For the majority of applications, a bespoke development will be the optimum solution so that the unit provides the exact feature set needed. The OB family, configured through the Development Hardware Partnership service that is an integral part of BVM Mobile’s capability, is a one-box hardware solution with Windows 7, XP Pro, XP Embedded or Embedded Standard 7 OS available with support resulting from BVM Mobile’s status as a Windows Embedded partner. Processor, RAM, bulk storage and I/O are all configurable to customer requirements and external or mains power is a further option.

The BVM Mobile PC family is an advance in mobile computing, offering simple and cost-effective off the shelf solution to the previously intractable problems associated with providing significant computing power to remote and mobile locations.