Secure Encryption with TPM
Today we’re going to delve into a feature that’s often mentioned on Tagent’s medical computers and tablets spec sheets, but not often expanded on: TPM Support. The Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is an international standard for a secure cryptoprocessor. A cryptoprocessor is a dedicated microcontroller built into computers that is designed to secure its hardware. This is achieved through the use of integrated cryptographic keys. That sounds like pretty high tech stuff, but put simply, a cryptographic key is a string of bits used by an algorithm to change plain text into cipher text or vice versa. The key is private and ensures secure encryption and decryption of data on the computer. With that knowledge, it’s fairly simple to see why it would be a useful feature on a medical computer containing patient health information. The TPM helps support the integrity of the computer platform and boot process, device identification, authentication, disk encryption, password protection, and more. That’s a pretty good resume for one small microcontroller. It’s such a significant component that the United States Department of Defense specifies that “new computer assets procured to support DoD will include a TPM version 1.2 or higher.”
Most all of Tangent’s medical grade computers and tablets come standard with TPM 1.2 or 2.0. The new Tangent M10i medical tablet PC has the TPM 1.2 support standard, as well as a rugged casing to prevent damage from being dropped, and is tested to strict military standards for shock and vibration resistance. The medical tablet also has a top of the line high brightness multi-touch surface with Gorilla Glass panel and digitizer. Gorilla Glass is known for its high quality touch device screens and is found on most of the leading smartphones, tablets, and watches. The M10i tablet comes standard with dual cameras: a two megapixel front facing camera, and a five megapixel rear camera with flash. One of its more impressive features include a hot-swap battery function that allows for eleven hours of uninterrupted operation. The 10” medical PC boasts a 4th Generation Intel® Haswell Core™ i processor, up to 8GB of memory and can be mounted on a number of surfaces including vehicles and medical arms.
The 13 inch T13 medical tablet PC from Tangent comes with TPM 2.0 support. The 2.0 standard supports a few more encryption algorithms and different kinds of structural hierarchies amongst other things. This is very handy for the T13 medical computer since it comes equipped with full slot smart card and SD card readers that allows for accepting credit card payments or using smart cards for authentication. This versatile machine can be used with a hand strap for users on the go, with an integrated stand, a desktop charging cradle, or can be mounted walls and vehicles with its VESA 100 mounting bracket. The T13 medical tablet is ruggedized and perfect for daily work in hospitals because of its ABS plastic enclosure w/ rubber corners, IP54 rated front panel, and antimicrobial treatment. Tangent’s medical computers are truly secure both inside and out!
Computer Redundancy: A Matter of Life or Death in Medical Environments
For most people, a power outage constitutes a moderate inconvenience. Cooking dinner or watching TV is out of the question for a few hours, but soon enough life returns to normal with little consequence. For a medical facility, however, a power outage can be quite catastrophic and even life threatening for patients. A sustained loss of power can cause downtime on respiratory devices, medical computers, monitoring devices, and critical equipment for patients in neonatal, intensive care or cardiac units. Emergency or time critical procedures cannot be performed and loss of refrigeration can severely affect medications and stored blood and tissues. Without any power, medical computers cannot access electronic patient medical records and other hospital data, and orders for medication or procedures cannot be completed. With worsening weather patterns around the world and the prevalence of rolling blackouts, the outlook seems fairly bleak, but this is not the case for well prepared hospitals and care providers. Many facilities now employ a mix of powerful backup generators and equipment with hot-swappable batteries or UPS (uninterruptible power supply) systems for critical devices.
Purpose built medical grade computers can make a huge positive impact on service delivery during a power loss event. Tangent offers several all-in-one medical computers that offer battery backup options for such occasions. The Tangent T24B medical computer was designed with three easy-to-use hot-swappable batteries and battery bays to ensure a 24/7 runtime. This provides up to 10.5 hours of runtime without any interruption of power to the user. The T24B also offers antimicrobial treatment to deter the spread of infection, a 24 inch PCAP ten point multi-touch touchscreen, is shielded to prevent interference with other sensitive medical equipment, and has several options for mounting including cart arms, wall mounts, or a stand.
The Tangent M24T 24″ medical computer has an internal UPS battery backup that offers 30 minutes of uninterrupted power. This allows staff to continue working for a time without having to swap out any batteries. The M24T is a high performance machine that can be equipped with up to 32G of memory. The Tangent C24 24” medical computer also has an internal UPS battery backup that allows for 20 minutes of use without any external power. The C22 works very well on medical carts and arms due to it’s convenient front panel buttons, antimicrobial surface, and PCAP touchscreen. All the medical computers mentioned here are offered in a variety of screen sizes and with a variety of available system upgrades and optional accessories to best suit the needs of the care providers and their patients. Disaster recovery is a major focal point for many medical organizations, but the best prepared hospital systems avoid many potential disasters by using equipment and medical devices that offer internal or external battery backups. Several of Tangent’s medical grade all-in-one computers were designed for the continuity of patient care even in the face of unforeseen losses of power, while also delivering top level performance 24 hours a day.
Business vs Consumer Tablets : Know the Difference
The claim of 10-hour battery life on most newer tablet computers sounds pretty good, but there’s a few striking caveats to those promises, and quite a few other issues with those systems that make them poor choices as business machines. For one, most consumer tablets are intended for casual web browsing or watching videos, not for many hours of continued, application-heavy use. Under those conditions, the batteries on those types of tablets tend to drain out in closer to four hours. This doesn’t seem like much of a problem for people who are able to sit next to an outlet and charge back up, but so much of business happens on the go. And another massive problem is being unable to swap the battery when it does run out. This forces businesses to face the costly need to have several tablets on hand to keep up with their work demands. Consumer tablets are also designed to be handheld or used with a separate cradle or custom mounting apparatus.
Yes, the price points of of consumer-grade computer equipment makes them attractive at a blush, but industrial grade tablets and computers offer businesses a higher quality experience and durability that translates to even more cost effectiveness in the long run. Industrial tablets like Tangent’s P13 thirteen inch industrial all-in-one computer can make all the difference for operations requiring sustained mobile computing over long periods of time. The P13’s removable Li-Ion battery offers up to 6 hours of uninterrupted heavy use, and of course, comes with a power supply for charging. The tablet can accept a wide range of power inputs from 12-19VDC.
It’s VESA 75 capability means it can be mounted almost anywhere, with flexible installation options. If handheld use is required, the sturdy industrial tablet is easily carried since it’s only 3.75lbs and has an ultra slim design at 19mm in thickness. Warehouse employees can easily and quickly move the industrial tablet computer from one work kiosk to another. Field engineers can diagnose and complete repairs at several work sites in a day without having to worry about charging. Businesses can also feel assured of their investment because of the P13’s industrial grade construction. The industrial tablet has a completely fanless operation so there are no moving parts in the computer and no dust will build up in the internals, ensuring a reliable, durable and long-lasting life of the product. It was designed to function as a full-fledged workhorse computer system, not just an oversized smartphone.
Versatility, customization, ruggedness, and power are hallmarks of Tangent’s industrial tablet computers. The P13 tablet has a configuration panel that opens up to many of the swappable components that are housed together for easy access and quick upgrades or repair. This sort of access to internal components is unheard of in the consumer tablet world. And for the casual technology user, that’s not much of an area of concern, but businesses require much more control and trust in the computers that they depend on for their livelihood.
Computer Arm Mounts Increase Efficiency
A medical charting station sounds like a pretty high end technical workstation, but for the longest time, it simply meant a wooden or metal cabinet or desk built into a wall of a clinical room that held physical medical charts. It was space efficient, yes, but hardly any wonder of modern discovery. They did think to put locks on them, so the old timers at least get points for patient privacy there. Once computers became cost effective and small enough, health facilities started cramming them into those cabinet work spaces whose openings strikingly resembled the seat-back tray tables on airlines. As quickly as they could, medical charting practices advanced onto sophisticated electronic medical records software platforms. Though the paper charts were a thing of the past, the computer systems that accessed the EMRs were about as flexible as having your laptop propped up on that airline tray table. The next evolution for the medical charting station is now the use of medical computer arms married with a folding IT station. Adjustability, dexterity, durability, and space efficiency create a winning combination that medical practices seek out in their medical computer equipment.
The Tangent Easy-Fold IT Station with medical computer arm offers its users customized configuration options to mount a flat panel display, keyboard and computer conveniently to a wall for maximum flexibility and ergonomic performance. The features on the medical arm system are numerous and impressive. The entire system easily folds back to less than 9 inches (22.9cm) from the wall and users can adjust from sitting to standing in one fluid motion. The adjustable arm helps to position the monitor and keyboard for maximum productivity for care providers who are on their feet all day and also to allow patients to see the screen without having to move or strain themselves. This has been helpful to me at the dentist’s office when they wanted to show me my x-rays while I had a suction tube in my numbed mouth. Better that they moved the monitor to my level, lest I haplessly drool all over their equipment. There is 17 inches of overall vertical adjustment range on the medical computer arm that can accommodate users of any height, and they can easily lock that adjusted computer height in place to avoid sudden movements or accidents. The monitor itself has 6.5 inches of independent height adjustment and the keyboard folds up to sit flush with the system when it’s pushed back to the wall.
More features include optional CPU mounts, VESA 75/100 mounting options, and trays for items like barcode scanners or computer mouses. The construction of the Tangent Easy-Fold IT station and medical arm is of durable aluminum and, being of medical grade, comes with a sealed keyboard tray for better infection control. Tangent protects most of their computer products with antimicrobial additives or constructs them to withstand heavy cleaning for patient safety and hospital compliance. Coupling a medical purpose built Tangent computer system with an IT workstation and medical arms of this nature provides a high degree of assurance in both safety and flexibility.
A Firewall for Your Finger Tips
We spend quite a bit of time discussing sanitation on medical computers and monitors, but we’d be remiss to not center some of the spotlight on the computer component that not only provides access to the system but also experiences most of the physical contact: the keyboard. In medical environments, the main objective of their operations is to improve patient health, but equally scrutinized is a facility’s ability to protect their patient’s private health information. Though it seems like the most expendable of peripherals, a medical grade keyboard can actually prove to be a major asset in both of those goals.
Tangent’s newest anti-microbial medical keyboard, the MEDKYB-011, sets out to safeguard patients from infection and from data breaches. First on the list of sanitary measures is that the keyboard is treated with an antimicrobial additive to prevent the spread of germs and contaminants. The medical keyboard also comes equipped with a cleaning switch which allows you to cut the power to the keyboard and thoroughly clean a disinfect it without causing any damage. With many hands and fingers touching the keyboard every day, it’s key to have a durable, long-lasting, and germ-free product. I’ve turned over numerous keyboards and watched in disgust as years old food crumbs and dirt came tumbling out from between the keys. This is absolutely unacceptable in a hospital environment.
Anti-microbial protection and the ability to be washed is where most medical keyboards finish in terms of special features. The Tangent MEDKYB-011 medical keyboard comes with analytical software that can provide data that most compliance officers would do backflips to be able to obtain. Hospitals will be able to know what keyboard was cleaned, who cleaned it, and when it was last cleaned. This can be achieved through monitoring logins, or to be even more compliance assured, the medical keyboard has an optional biometric fingerprint reader to log users in. There is also an option to add OneSign Secure Walk-Away software to work in conjunction with the medical keyboard and computer cameras for more effective and assured protected health information (PHI) and avoid a number if HIPAA violations. In hectic, shared workstation settings, it can easily happen that hospital staff don’t check to see if someone else logged into their computer since they left it. This can lead to them charting under the wrong provider ID or on the wrong patients’ record. Also, if a medical care provider had to walk away from a workstation in an emergency, a patient’s personal information is left up on the screen for anyone to copy down. It’s easy to see what a disaster that could turn into.
The Secure Walk-Away application provides user tracking to identify an authenticated user in front of the computer and will automatically lock the system upon their departure, providing instant re-authentication when they return. This saves on so much time and removes the stress of having to remember to log in and out of the workstation, which is huge for any care provider with an already stressful workload. Tangent looks at a hospital processes and pain points, and targets its products to improve medical user’s experience, enhance workflows, and protect patients. The best and most reliable technology goes into each offering, even into its medical keyboards.
An Ideal Medical Computer for Mobile POC
A common technology feature encountered in most medical facilities is the mobile point of care (POC) cart. In an effort to provide efficient and accurate care and response rates in areas that are often short on space, carts were fitted with casters and small form factor medical computers to allow staff to have the convenience of in-room patient data access without the cost and headache of installing a computer in each exam room. As smaller all-in-one computers became more commonplace, the carts have been able to be fitted to be even more lightweight, customizable, and stable. Point of care carts are usually employed to administer medical tests, but medical carts are also generally used for a variety of medical applications like medication distribution, anesthesia or IV dosage, rapid code response, bedside care, and more.
With such varied requirements for mobile care within a medical space, it’s necessary to have a versatile medical grade industrial computer that can answer to those needs. Tangent’s C-series medical computers are a prime example of technological prowess, compliance with sanitation standards, and modularity. The casing is factory treated with an antimicrobial additive to deter surface contamination and prevent mold and bacterial buildup, helping keep patients free of infection. The IP65 rated front panel of the medical computer can be sprayed and wiped with cleaning solutions without damaging the enclosure or internals. The computer is shielded from electrical frequency leakage making it safe to be used in close proximity to a patient and won’t interfere with other sensitive medical equipment. These safeguards have earned the C-series medical computer a medical 60601 certification.
Medical carts and related apparatus come in a variety of sizes, and in response, the C-series comes with standard VESA mounting. They can be installed on carts, arms, or used with the optional stand as a desktop device. So too, the screens of the C-series medical computers are available in 17 inch, 19 inch, 22 inch, and 24 inch widescreen PCAP touch true flat-front panel sizes. The versatility is also shown in the available Intel 6th Gen Core i5 or i7 processor, the one or two terabyte hard drive, or the unbelievable 132GB of memory that could potentially be packed in. Yes, that figure is correct – 132GB of memory! Computing power like that means one could run several instances of any resource heavy application and never crash. The systems are built to run 24-7 and even have a battery backup in case of power interruption. It is so important that no data isl be lost if the power suddenly cuts out.
The primary function of medical carts is to be highly mobile, which certainly requires a degree of cable free use. The C-series industrial medical computers have available Intel wireless and Bluetooth. Mobility invariably includes lots of shaking and vibration, which can be hazardous to normal computer systems with moving parts. Not only is the Tangent medical grade computer lineup shock and vibration resistant, it also is available with a fanless option. This greatly extends the life of the PC, and also ensures that it doesn’t circulate dusty air in a medical setting. Medical carts have a multitude of important purposes, and so Tangent’s medical computers can be customized to suit each unique setting.
Industrial PC Ideal for the Meat Processing Industry
In late 2012, the largest beef recall in Canada was prompted by an E. coli outbreak from a meat distributor called XL Foods. Eighteen people became sick, some to the point of needing hospitalization, and more than 4,000 tonnes of beef was recalled from across Canada and the U.S. This event sparked months of investigation, government inquiries, and resulted in massive financial impacts, but it is only one of many examples of foodborne illness-related recalls and scares in the agriculture industry. Contaminated foods is one of the greatest wastes any industry can face and so it’s understandable that cleaning and sanitation within meat processing plants is considered one of its most important activities.
So what can be done to ensure all the equipment in an industrial meat processing plant meets strict sanitation requirements and safety protocols? Invest in equipment that can stand up to the rigors of being inspected, wiped down with cleaning solutions and water jet spray, and exposed to widely varying temperatures. Computer equipment often falls short on these needs, but industrial PC solutions are readily available from Tangent for these types of harsh and demanding environments.
The Tangent S-Series Industrial Panel computers were purpose built to offer reliable, long-lasting processing with a durable case. The enclosure is IP69K rated to protect the internals against spray downs using high water pressures and high temperatures, as well as applied solutions. The rugged, stainless housing also offers a corrosion resistant surface. High pressure washing is efficient for surface cleaning after dry-cleaning of scrap materials in a meat processing center, followed by an application of cleaning or detergent agents. The input ports on this industrial computer come capped to protect against liquid or other contaminants. The availability of Intel Wireless AC-7260 and Bluetooth connections also diminish the need for cabling which reduces potential ingress.
The S-series industrial Panel PC line can be safely operated from 32 to 104°F (0 – 40°C), is rated to be shock and vibration resistant, and has versatile mounting options. The rugged computers are offered in a variety of sizes from 15” to 22” to suit any space and operate without any fans to further bolster its cleanliness. It’s disturbing to consider what could potentially hide in a computer on an industrial floor when fans are continually sucking in the dirty ambient air.
As more perishable and sensitive meat products have become popular in the market, particularly pre-packaged convenience foods, the need for proper sanitation in meat handling has increased. The microbial content of food products needs to be low enough to prevent spoilage during distribution and to guarantee an adequate shelf life once it reaches the store. Tangent’s prime directive is to provide top quality industrial computers to not only meet the requirements of business such as meat processing and distribution facilities, but to exceed them. Public health scares can largely be a thing of the past when industry standards align with forward-thinking technology. The S-series industrial computers from Tangent promote safety and perform to support a business’ bottom line.
All About Forklift Computers
Forklifts first came about in the early twentieth century and their practical purpose didn’t change much over the years; they picked up freight, moved it from one short distance to another or from ground level to higher storage spaces. Although the forklift’s intended functionality was fairly simplistic, continued warehouse process improvement efforts coupled with technological progress eventually enveloped this modest warehouse vehicle into a new role: inventory management and asset tracking. By placing an industrial grade computer on the unit, a forklift operator was able to scan items as they were being stored. A forklift computer’s primary objective is now to help organize an active warehouse facility, sending real-time information to logistics operations or to an inventory information database. This is a huge boon to organizations like home improvement stores who have to move and replenish stock several times a day.
Forklift mounted computers have been attempted for at least a dozen years, but they were bulky and difficult to use while a worker was also trying to operate the vehicle. More space effective, customizable all-in-one touchscreen computer formats like ones offered by Tangent are making it easy to complete repeated tasks and keep the small cab of the vehicle free of clutter and cabling. The Tangent F15 industrial all-in-one touchscreen computer was specifically created with forklift mounting and use in mind. Chief amongst it’s notable features is ten programmable function keys on the front panel. This allows the forklift operator to complete several repeatable tasks at the touch of a button, which means being able to work without requiring both hands and doing it safely. Wireless and bluetooth capabilities allow users to connect to networks and databases without the need for an ethernet cable connection. The construction of the Tangent F15 computer also lends itself to industrial warehouse conditions. The enclosure is completely sealed and rated at IP65 for being protected against water and dirt intrusion. The bright orange casing makes the unit easy to identify within the forklift cockpit, and easy to see the buttons for one-handed use when the operator is multi-tasking. The casing is designed for mounting on forklift applications with M8 heavy duty screws, and the computer has been tested for shock and vibration resistance.
Some companies have taken to using tablets on forklifts, which does allow for more mobility with the computer, but one of the bigger criticisms of using those is that the battery only lasts so long before a charge is required. This wouldn’t be a problem except that forklifts typically use DC power, not AC, and so time would be lost in charging or the expense of having to keep several tablets on hand. The Tangent F15 has a wide input voltage range allows for integration into more environments that can use either DC or AC power.
A range of I/O devices useful to inventory management are available for the industrial computer including an internal GPS module and an RFID (MiFare). GPS is popular for use in geo-fencing and RFID uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to inventory, removing the need to manually scan an item to identify it. For those who prefer barcodes and scanners, there’s a multitude of input ports for peripherals and devices. A lot went into consideration when this industrial all-in-one was designed for warehouse and forklift use. And as with industrial operations, it’s always better to have the right tool for the job.
Automobile Manufacturing Automation
The use of advanced technology in automotive manufacturing has been commonplace since the 1960s when car manufacturers first pioneered the use of industrial robots and then went on to make them standard in car assembly by the 1980s. Having seen tons of videos of robots welding chassis and components together on the automotive shop floor makes one think that the entire process is automated. But what’s surprising is that on the assembly side of things, automotive manufacturing is still quite people-intensive. In the past, industrial touchscreen computers were largely used for monitoring and quality assurance purposes. However, newer tech has seen the advent of things like collaborative robots that can help factory workers with challenging tasks, delivering materials, or assisting with heavy materials. Drones have been developed and deployed to inspect parts or potentially hazardous environments, while the factory staff control and investigate the proceedings on an industrial touchscreen PC. GM is even now using exoskeletons for repetitive operations in manufacturing. Workers wear a glove and they are given added strength and dexterity, but eventually they will also pass on their repetitive work tasks to a computer. Car manufacturers state that this is only the beginning in their quest for automation. In GM’s vision, the entire assembly floor will one day be a streamlined and automated flow of events.
The place for human intervention will no longer need to be in harm’s way on a hazardous assembly line, but with the tools and technology to be able to complete the same tasks using industrial touchscreen computers. Tangent’s All-in-One industrial PCs are created to be ready for the great ideas and automations of the future, whilst being able to withstand and succeed in the harsh and demanding environments of existing manufacturing sites. The S Series industrial all-in-one comes in a 15 inch, 19 inch, or 22 inch touchscreen monitor, built with a stainless steel enclosure that is IP69K rated as being fully waterproof. This series is also offered with a fanless design for reliability, longevity, and a noise-free operation which can be critical in manufacturing plants that must minimize dust circulation or ambient sound. The CPU is an Intel 3rd Gen Core i5, offering best-in-class integrated media and graphic performance to keep up with ever evolving (and moving) assembly line requirements. The units are available not only with VESA 100×100 compliant mounting, but also an optional tilting side mount, or with a sunlight readable panel with UV protection coating. This industrial touchscreen computer doesn’t even need to be indoors to provide effective utility! Another convenience is the S-Series’ optional Intel wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, removing the need to route ethernet cabling to the computer. This prevents clutter and maintains a clean work environment.
The automotive industry is always looking for process improvement through the use of innovative, reliable technology. Supporting smarter and safer technological endeavors is the heart of Tangent’s industrial computer offerings. The S-Series industrial touchscreen PCs are but a shining sample of the targeted work that Tangent does to bring quality and scalability to the manufacturing floor.
POS System for Retail
I was at a wine tasting event a couple months ago that was run by a wonderful and wine savvy older couple. The selections were phenomenal and the prices couldn’t be beat so I approached their sales desk with several bottles. Much to my surprise, the kindly proprietor pulled out a stack of papers that were stapled together and thumbed through it, circling the wines listed that I was going to buy. She wrote my name down on the front sheet, then manually calculated my total. The entire purchase process took over ten minutes and a line of patrons started forming behind me. I asked the owner what their method was, and apparently they would print their inventory sheet several dozen times and use that to write up people’s purchases. This seemed like such a waste of resources and time to me, so I continued to inquire as to why they didn’t use a point of sale computer system for their retail business. The reply was simply that they wouldn’t know where to start with POS systems. These folks with boundless knowledge of wine hadn’t the foggiest clue about computers or point of sale technology.
It’s with that sort of problem in mind that Tangent offers an industrial all-in-one tablet that is perfectly suited for retail POS activities, the P10. The tablet has a ten inch LCD with a PCAP multi-touchscreen, 2GB of memory, 64GB of storage, integrated audio and camera, and weighs in at a mere 2.2lbs. The real magic comes with the units docking station, which features many I/O ports for peripheral device connections like a barcode scanner, IC card reader, or 3-track MSR. It even has an RJ11 12V/24V input for a cash drawer. A POS system like this would have made life infinitely easier for the wine sellers. They could have used the barcode scanner to scan the products, have it pull up on the sales screen, and complete the transaction with ease using either the cash draw or the credit card reader.
Another handy feature that would have benefited a room full of people and pouring wine is the IP54 rated front panel on the tablet that protects against liquid spills. And spills did happen a bit as people got further into their tasting courses and as more attendees arrived. The P10 POS systems small size conveniently suits any space, or lack thereof, and it’s rugged construction ensures that it can survive bumps and falls in case the scene get a little overly raucous.
A POS system is positively the most efficient way to support any retail business that sells products directly to customers. The ease of use, time savings on both checkout and maintaining inventory, and a safe repository of sales records makes this sort of computer a no-brainer. The flexibility of Tangent’s P10 allows retailers to customize their POS system to suit their specific need, or add on as business needs change. I certainly recommended to those lovely wine purveyors that they invest in this POS technology to make checkout easier, their business more efficient, and their customers happier. A good product married up with fast and accurate service is a win-win every time.