Which tablet ruled the FOSE show?

Products from 12 companies were honored with Best of FOSE awards July 20 at the expo and conference in Washington, with the BlackBerry PlayBook taking Best in Show honors for its useful features, familiar interface and government-friendly focus.

The judges, a panel of GCN writers, editors and reviewers, picked Research In Motion’s PlayBook for its enterprise features, BlackBerry security and the fact that, as a tablet, it’s designed from the ground up for government use.

The PlayBook also was named the winner in the Handheld Devices category.

The Best of FOSE awards recognize outstanding, innovative IT products for government exhibited during the show, which is staged by the 1105 Government Information Group, publisher of GCN.

The other winners in other categories, some of which were closely contested, are:

Portable PCs. The Algiz XRW, a small (10.1-inch), ultra-rugged notebook that looks a little like a brick computer but is an actually a full-fledged PC. It’s Mil-Spec rugged except for full immersion in water.

Display Devices. Smart Technologies' Smart Board 8070i Interactive Display, a 70-inch high-definition monitor with full whiteboard capability. The unit also has four cameras mounted around the board, which allows two people at the monitor to draw on it at the same time.

Peripherals. The Kodak i2800 scanner, a small, portable scanner with a large screen and scanning speeds of up to 70 ppm. Can scan most any type of document, including double-sided, and can be programmed to save settings for different types. Small enough to work as a desktop scanned but fast enough to be used as a departmental scanner for a small organization.

Networking Equipment. NetOptics’ Phantom Virtual Tap helps enterprises handle security, compliance and performance of virtual environments by providing a clear view of traffic between virtual servers. Fills a real need in government.

Other. FedEx Office DocuStor Catalog. FedEx and the Government Printing Office offer agencies a Web-based library of documents that can be printed at any of the more than 1,800 FedEx Office locations around the country. Users, which include the Census Bureau and other agencies, log on, customize their orders and arrange for the printing, which FedEx delivers. FedEx also has a BlackBerry app that lets users walk up to a printer in an Office location and print wirelessly direct from the BlackBerry.

Security Hardware. Systematic Development Group’s LOK-IT Secure USB flash drive raises the security and encryption for a secure flash drive to the level government really need. It uses hardware authentication, eliminating the middleware that can be a weak spot in other drives, and uses FIPS-140-2 Level 3 encryption, which will destroy the drive if anyone tries to break into it.

Security Software. Faronics’ Deep Freeze is something of a network administrators’ dream. It lets the admin “freeze” the setting on computers so that, no matter what a user might do — downloading plug-ins, opening it up for streaming, changing BIOS settings or inadvertently letting a virus in — the computer will return to its original, frozen state upon reboot.

Desktop Software: LanSchool Technologies’ LanSchool v7.6 is expanding from its K-12 school market into government, and to good effect. The software gives an instructor control of the classroom, by letting him or her see what’s going on with students’ computers, and allowing the instructor to block (or allow) Web browsing, for instance, or put an end to a distracted student's solitaire game. Among its users are the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Army and Bay Area Transit System in San Francisco.

Enterprise Software: Aspera’s Connect Server meets a government need by enabling the transfer of massive amounts of data via limited bandwidth over great distances, using the company’s proprietary fasp communications protocol. In a test, fasp transferred a 1G file coast to coast at 154 megabits/sec (55 seconds), compared with 1.4 megabits/sec (1 hour, 42 minutes) for FTP, according to the company.

Storage: Rocstor’s Rocsafe MX mobile encrypted hard drive enclosure. This pocket-sized, 5G enclosure is the first to use FIPS 140-2 Level 2 smart-card protection, employing AES 256-bit encryption and a smart card reader that supports the Defense Department’s Common Access Card and the government’s Personal Identity Verification cards. Works with USB 2.0 and FireWire 800.

Special Judges’ Award: NL Systems’ encryptics, which allows two computers to encrypt communications with each other point-to-point, without going through a server (thus eliminating a potential point weakness). Works with a roster of solid encryption standards, including AES 256, RSA 2048, Triple DES and others.

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