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December 2003 - January 2004


Business Forum

Looking To The Future Of Mobile Computing

Seldom is there a chance to glimpse the future and happy indeed are those who spot a possible future trend in the over-crowded world of computers. Guests at the India Link International Business Forum lunch on 23rd October at Veeraswamy Restaurant in London may well have witnessed one of those rare events.
Fred Diaz, a designer-cum-entrepreneur, presented an ambitious project to design and market a new compact and powerful computer for mobile applications through his company Handheld Tec Ltd. He believes that the future of computing is in the mobile sector and that Europe is in an advantageous position to take the lead in this market.

Handheld Tec is looking for technology and marketing partners, with complementary skills, together with investors to further the product and reach the market place. The audience of investors, technology company managers as well as potential users and sellers of the product listened in complete silence as Fred Diaz gave a tantalising glimpse of Handheld Tec's potential - a truly hand-held laptop computer and a lot more.

The origins of the new Hand-held product idea lie in Fred Diaz and his company's background. Fred started working on the design of computer related products from the early days of the PC. Through the years, he has been involved in the different market sectors that use Information Technology: consumer, commercial, industrial and military. After designing several products for manufacturing clients, Fred took the initiative to move the PC market to its next logical stage, if the established manufacturers are not doing it. The know-how came from a sophisticated hand-held computer that his company designed for use by the British military. This involved a long-term design and development programme. He initiated the new project with his own resources and in 2002 he won a DTI SMART award for the innovative Hand-held computer. The award allowed a 10-month design programme for the new commercial version of this compact and rugged PC.

The world feels less safe after September 11th and this is the case not only in the West but also in most of the rest of the world. For Fred Diaz, it is a natural progression to go from designing military equipment to designing computers for the security markets. These markets are in the fields of coast guards, the police, airports, civil guards, the military itself and the like. However, other markets are associated with these, including rescue and navigation. Private and government bodies are spending serious money on security.

It is often a mistake, on the part of inventors, that they have a bright idea looking for a market. This case is different: the idea originated from the market itself. The original interest in the product came from people who saw the previous military Hand-held computer. Handheld Tec has been developing both the product and its markets in parallel. By discussing the product idea and the potential client requirements for such a product, the company has been able to progress the design with the feedback obtained from these buyers. This process will continue until the product is in the market and during the development of new models of the product.
Mobile computing is, by definition, associated with exposure to the environment, involving rain, dust, cold storage, sun light, dropping the equipment, mishandling, and other factors. This is where Fred's experience comes useful. Having spent the last 12 years designing military computers he has had to learn how to protect delicate equipment against extremely hostile conditions. One such example is a computer server, used by the British Royal Navy, which was subjected to a test simulating an under-water explosion caused by a torpedo hitting a ship where the computer is used.
This hand-held PC is intended to exploit the newest wireless technologies and the services that come with them. Mobility means having the ability to communicate locally and remotely without the need for cumbersome cable connections. At the same time, the transmission of data via satellite and short range communications involves the protection of the data against eavesdropping and intrusion. The associated technologies for encryption and data protection will form part of the systems in which the product will operate.
India Link Business Forum's members are innovators and entrepreneurs themselves. India of course is at the forefront of the IT industry. It was appropriate that after the inauguration of Business Forum the first 'business opportunity' should be a company like Handheld Tec.

Contact
For further information contact Fred Diaz on 020 8350 1390, e-mail: f-diaz@handheldtec.com or his financial/investment advisor Jeff Macklin of FDUK Ltd on 01749 890920. Visit the company web-site on www.ruggedpro.com.

 

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