TRADE SHOW SEASON HITS HIGH GEAR

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Kopis Mobile at SOFIC 2016

Funny how trade show season comes in about the same time pollen season does. Both can cause irritation. Actually, we look forward to hitting the road every year. Trade shows provide us with the opportunity to meet potential new customers and reconnect with current ones.

If you have been following Kopis, you already know we attended the Las Vegas SHOT Show back in January. We met some amazing folks out there specifically law enforcement officers from around the country. The worst part about SHOT is the amount of time you spend on your feet. If anyone has been to Vegas, you already know there is no easy way to get around and it is often faster to walk to where ever you are going. Friends of mine who wore fitness trackers were walking between 10 and 13 miles per day during the show.

Next week, we will be at the San Diego Convention Center 19-20 April for the ADS Warrior West Expo. This is one of our smaller trade shows, but it always has a very focused group of military, law enforcement and first responders. We will be displaying some new products in booth 1136.  You know, it just never sucks to be in San Diego.

Next month,  we will be in Tampa 15-18 May for SOFIC. A reunion of sorts always happens at this trade show since it is Special Operations focused. This year, we are sharing booth 454 with one of our great partners, Tactical Electronic Corp.

Later in the Summer, we will be back in Virginia Beach for the ADS Warrior East Expo held at the convention center 13-14 July.

In order to branch out into different markets, we decided to add two trade shows to our schedule. This year we have added the National Guard Association of the United States (NGUAS) held in Louisville 7-10 September and the  International Chiefs of Police show at the Philadelphia Convention Center 21-24 October. We are always super excited to meet new people and hopefully venture into new markets.

 

 

Building Trust in a Fake News World

Awe yes, it was so easy back in the day to know “Fake News”.

But today, you don’t know what is real and what is fake. Each source of “news” has managed to put it’s own spin on information, so the normal everyday person can not discern fact from embellishment from flat out crap. And, this is coming from major news outlets.

I will not even get into the numerous websites that have popped up on the information superhighway feeding us “facts”. I mean if you read it on the internet it has to be true, right!

Granted, this is nothing new. Various spins on information to get agendas out to the public have been happening since ancient times. It was just slower to get the word out back then. But now, this opinionated “news” gets shot out in a blink of an eye to millions thanks to technology.  And believe me, it can spin up the masses faster than Kim Kardashian showing her ass…again.

It’s as if the news organizations have developed some odd, incestuous relationship and the information they are putting out is the cross-eyed kid picking the banjo. You probably have to be my age to get that joke.

Here’s a tip.. give honesty and integrity a try. If more and more people demand this from their sources of information, the news would be reported and not created. Be responsible and do a little research.

Most people take 15 seconds to read an article. They get some of the key points in their head and move on. Either way, humans find it is easier to jump on a bandwagon then stand apart and think for themselves. They refuse to utilize technology to research information and instead use it as a crutch.

The internet is a great tool, but sadly is starting to get a bad rap and for good reason. I have an interesting concept to present. How about reporters report the facts and just the facts. If we wanted your opinion, we would ask for it. Let us, the people, form our own opinions based on the facts.

If we don’t stand up and demand true information, we are going to continue to run in a never ending circle of BS. I am frankly tired of scraping the *hit off of my running shoes.  Honestly, I just want to know the “5 Ws”; who, what, where, when and why.

HACKING FOR DEFENSE SOLVES SOME MAJOR PROBLEMS

Hacking for Defense or H4D as it is better known as, is a process of using lean innovation to rapidly bring innovative solutions to address threats to our national security. Steve Blank is really the main guy behind all of this and a lot of other things for that matter.

For a long time, our military and intelligence communities were able to field some of the most advanced technology in the world whenever they wanted and at their own pace.

Now, our adversaries are able to use social networks, GPS, low cost drones, smartphones, and a host of commercial off the shelf technologies to disrupt how we conduct business around the world.

They don’t have to follow any prolonged procurement process, go through multiple layers of approving officials or really test any of the dangerous crap they come up with to harm us. The can crowd source, open source or sole source whoever they want to get the job done. They make it really hard for us to keep up.

Steve is right on the money when he says, “We will not lose because we had the wrong technology.  We will lose because we couldn’t adopt, adapt and deploy technology at speed and in sufficient quantities to overcome our enemies.”

What Hacking for Defense does is teach students about the nation’s emerging threats and security challenges while working with really innovative people within DoD and the Intel Community.

“Student teams will take actual national security problems and learn how to apply Lean Startup principles to discover and validate customer needs and to continually build iterative prototypes to test whether they understood the problem and solution.”

The ultimate goal of Hacking for Defense is to develop a network of entrepreneurial students who understand the threats facing our country. They then link up with other super innovative folks within the government  to provide solutions to critical national security problems.

Utilizing the brain power at universities is not a new concept. The video link below will reveal some very interesting things dating back to WWII. The video is a little long, but I learned quite a bit from it.

Secret History

 

 

 

MULTIPLE HAZARDS AWAIT FIRST RESPONDERS IN METH LABS

Meth labs are some of the most hazardous places first responders have to enter. Crystal meth is one nasty drug, but even worse, are the meth labs where it is produced.

Who knew how long the stuff has been around. Amphetamine was first produced in Germany in the late 1800’s. Then, the Japanese turned it into methamphetamine shortly after that.

Widely used by several countries during World War II, meth was used to increase endurance and alertness. Specifically, Kamikaze pilots took meth prior to embarking on one way missions to sink U.S. Naval vessels in the Pacific.

Meth labs may be located virtually anywhere. Labs have been found in secluded rural areas as well as in residential, commercial, and industrial districts. First responders have raided labs at private homes, commercial properties, hotels and motels. Mobile labs have been discovered in automobiles, boats, and luggage.

Here are just some of the dangerous things one may face when entering a suspected lab:

Chemical Hazards
Pseudoephedrine Ingestion of doses greater than 240 mg causes hypertension, arrhythmia, anxiety, dizziness, and vomiting. Ingestion of doses greater than 600 mg can lead to renal failure and seizures.
Acetone/ ethyl alcohol  Extremely flammable, posing a fire risk in and around the laboratory. Inhalation or ingestion of these solvents causes severe gastric irritation, narcosis, or coma.
Freon Inhalation can cause sudden cardiac arrest or severe lung damage. It is corrosive if ingested.
Anhydrous ammonia A colorless gas with a pungent, suffocating odor. Inhalation causes edema of the respiratory tract and asphyxia. Contact with vapors damages eyes and mucous membranes.
Red phosphorus May explode as a result of contact or friction. Ignites if heated above 260° C. Vapor from ignited phosphorus severely irritates the nose, throat, lungs, and eyes.
Hypophosphorous acid Extremely dangerous substitute for red phosphorus. If overheated, deadly phosphine gas is released. Poses a serious fire and explosion hazard.
Lithium metal Extremely caustic to all body tissues. Reacts violently with water and poses a fire or explosion hazard.
Hydriodic acid A corrosive acid with vapors that are irritating to the respiratory system, eyes, and skin. If ingested, causes severe internal irritation and damage that may cause death.
Iodine crystals Give off vapor that is irritating to respiratory system and eyes. Solid form irritates the eyes and may burn skin. If ingested, cause severe internal damage.

 Phenylpropanolamine

Ingestion of doses greater than 75 mg causes hypertension, arrhythmia, anxiety, and dizziness. Quantities greater than 300 mg can lead to renal failure, seizures, stroke, and death.

Source: DEA Office of Diversion Control.

This article in the Preston County Journal really highlights the secondary dangers of entering a meth lab. In this case, improper decontamination lead to the death of an officer’s son.

Training is vitally important, and as the above article reveals, and it is critical at every level; local, state and federal. Proper decontamination training likely would have avoided the death of the young boy.

I remember running around in MOPP (Mission-Oriented Protective Postures) Level IV gear for hours on end and it sucked. In hot climates it was really bad, especially back then, when there were no cooling systems. At the end of several hours, my boots would literally be full of sweat. We had to do it because we had to get really good at operating in that caustic environment.

We would like to hear what first responders think gives them the best chance of survivability when dealing with these dangerous labs. Is it better training, better equipment or just better awareness? Let us know what you think.

Who cares if the only easy day was yesterday. Always look forward and never back. Kick ass!

 

 

 

DAYTONA BIKE WEEK 2017-THE MELTING POT OF AMERICA

It is time to get back to work after spending a few days down in Daytona for the 76th Annual Daytona Bike Week. The weather was generally good and no one was hurt, at least nothing worse than a few bruised livers and melted ATM cards.

The rich, the poor and everyone in the middle all hang out together with the common theme being motorcycles. It is certainly a great place to people watch because I guarantee you will see something you have never seen before.

I saw a giant bulldog in a baby carriage, a Dachshund dressed like a biker being carried around like a baby, men that I thought were women and women I thought were men. Toss in some spring breakers and vacationing families with young kids and you really have a fine American stew.

When there are half a million bikers in one town, you would expect to see at least one altercation. I have been going for a few years now and I have yet to see a fist raised. Everyone is there to enjoy the camaraderie, the music and the weather.

The best part, I think it is one of the largest gatherings of patriotic folks around the country. I had the opportunity to speak with several current and former military members. I also spent several hours speaking to some police officers from the Atlanta area. American flags were flying all over town and on the backs of bikes. It was great to see some positive things for a change instead of all the junk I see in the news everyday.

Speaking of police, every year we go to The Last Resort where Aileen Wuornos was arrested after going on a serial killing spree. Creepy yes, but interesting non the less. You just have to love someone who requests a last meal of a cup of coffee.

Who cares if the only easy day was yesterday. Always look forward and never back. Kick ass!

A Small Fish In A Very Big Sea

As with any start up business, it has been a struggle for us.  I will go out on a limb and say, it has been harder for us given the industry we are in.  Not only are we a tech company from rural Mississippi, but also, we have been trying to gain access into an industry dominated by the likes of Northrup Grumman, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin.  We have spent over three years just trying to educate people on who we are and what we do.  We obviously don’t have any buildings with Kopis Mobile on the top of them across from the Pentagon. So how does a small tech company with innovative ideas make a wave in that big sea? This is what I’ve learned so far.

General Officers and senior level decision makers of all ranks that are in today’s military are without doubt some of the best leaders this country have ever seen.  Several years of fighting wars on two fronts have positively molded the lives of many in uniform and shaped them into formidable leaders.

Those at that level are super educated, motivated, and strive to do the best they can to improve the lives of those under their command.  However, those at the top of the leadership pyramid are often bogged down by administrative tasks, countless meetings and unending travel.  They have little time to really dig into alternative ways to simplify entrenched, long standing ways of doing business.  Many rely on, “This is the way we are doing it because this is how it’s always been done.”  In many ways, tried and true methods work just fine.  It is easier to do “what we have been doing” rather to look for ways to do things better.

Most senior leaders think that because of digitization, they are more productive because of less paperwork. Actually, the opposite is happening.  Despite all of this digitization, you have more paperwork than ever.  This translates to a 3% decrease in annual productivity.

Bureaucracy is increasing faster than automation. Which means that over the past 20 years, nearly half of the military’s productivity has been sucked dry by the time vampires of administrative tasks.

The federal government spends about $20B per year on development of later stage technology for commercialization.  Majority of this money is spent in the large acquisition programs that incorporate technology that is not proven which means the equipment takes way too long to get the warfighter.  This results in huge cost overruns, frustrated operators, and projects that are way behind schedule.

The reason for this, most new technology dies on the vine because the bureaucracy of the military.   The GAO said “technologies don’t leave the lab because their potential has not been adequately demonstrated” and “the DoD is simply unwilling to fund final stages of development of a promising technology, preferring to invest in other aspects of the program that are viewed as more vital to success.”

And “DoD’s budgeting process, which requires investments to be targeted at least two years in advance of their activation, makes it difficult for DoD to seize opportunities to introduce technological advances into acquisition programs.”

The problem is only 5.71% of new technology ever gets into the hands of those that really need it.  That is 4 out of every 70 projects!

When you realize that small business accounts for 99.7% of all new technology introduced, it becomes incredibly important for small businesses to be involved in technology development and transfer.

The Undersecretary of Defense, Acquisition, Technology and Logistics reported the Federal Government has missed its small business goals for the last 16 years despite the fact that buying from small businesses is far less painful.  Frankly, buying from small guys like us eliminates red tape, shortens the technology transfer, speeds the time to get the operator the equipment they really need, and makes life for a contracting officer easier.

There are really only two types of new technology product development, that being “Top Down” and “Bottom Up”.  In “Top Down” tech development, academics invent something big and hopes it gets good in DoD.  In “Bottom Up” tech development, small business invents something good and hopes it big in DoD.  The big problem is 95% of it is “Top Down” and rarely includes the folks at the pointy end of the spear in the development process.

As stated in the GAO Report to Congress (GAO-05-480), the best approach to new technology is a, “least structured process and criteria, believing that a high degree on flexibility is needed in order to get technology prototypes quickly out to the field, where they can immediately impact military operations.”

What this really means is it is vitally important to partner with small businesses who talk directly to the operators in order to co-create useful technology.  This is the holy grail of warfighter improvement.

Who cares if the only easy day was yesterday. Always look forward and never back. Kick ass!

KOPIS MOBILE INVENTS A TIME MACHINE

Well, it is not exactly like the one in Back To The Future. It won’t really transport you through time, but it will give you tons of time you never had.

The warfighter has plenty of bullets, beans and boots, but what they don’t have enough of is time to deal with the ever-increasing mountain of administrative tasks on their plates.

Most senior officers think that because of digitization, their troops are getting more productive because of less paperwork. Actually the opposite is happening. Despite all of the digitization, they now have more paperwork than ever. Research conducted by the American Action Forum revealed a 47.8% increase in just the last 20 years alone.

We are helping give time back to the warfighter with our family of FastForm Apps. Produced about a year ago, FastForm 1306 is a mobile system that significantly cuts down the time it takes to create jump manifests. It digitally manifests a jumper quickly and generates a 100% accurate jump manifest form for the jumpmaster  4K Supports Paratroopers at Fort Bragg.

We also just released the FastForm Readiness app and it is a time and money saver as well. It tracks individual warfighter’s medical, dental and OER/NCOER. The app provides senior leaders with instant notifications if a qualification is about to lapse or already has and, creates the form DA Form 1379.

Among its many features, it generates an email that can be sent to the warfighter notifying them what the deficiency is, how to fix it and what will happen if it is not taken care of.

It can also create and send emails to chow halls and billeting offices to cancel reservations so charges aren’t incurred for not showing up, saving an organization thousands of dollars annually.

These two products, and all of our other products for that matter, were created via a proprietary diagnostic system. Our engineers and subject matter experts spend a few days interviewing multiple levels of leadership in a military organization in order to discover what their pain points are. We then produce software and/or hardware that will help reduce inefficiencies and generate cost savings. With this approach, we put the warfighter at the center of our product development and gives them direct input into the products they ultimately end up with.

If there are other time and cost saving ideas out there, we would like to hear about them. If you are a military or law enforcement member, let us know what administrative tasks eat up your day. I personally think you should be out training instead of staring out your computer all day long unless you are reading this blog.

Who cares if the only easy day was yesterday. Always look forward and never back. Kick ass!

 

 

Mobile Technology’s Explosive Growth

Since we started Kopis Mobile, we have seen an explosive growth in the use of mobile technology throughout the Department of Defense. Of course, it wasn’t always that way. As recent as 5 or 6 years ago, if senior leaders within DoD were asked if smartphones, tablets, and apps would be apart of daily business, 80% of them said “Not anytime soon, if ever.” 10% of them said “That is where everything is headed.” and the remaining 10% said “It is already happening and will only continue to grow.” Those in the last 10% were the visionaries that knew what mobile technology could do for their soldiers.  They took that vision and ran with it. The use of mobile technology has grown and continues to swell among the ranks of the DoD and other government agencies.

York County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office using new technology

Now, we see that the latest and greatest technology is no longer reserved for the DoD and elite government agencies.

WAVY/Larry Carney

Law enforcement organizations of all sizes are now utilizing mobile technology to keep their officers better trained, better informed, and better prepared.

Bush – A Moving Moment Before A Fierce Battle

I don’t care who you are or your political affiliation, I found this to be pretty touching Sunday night.

http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/02/05/watch-george-h-w-bush-gives-america-very-touching-moment-at-super-bowl-before-game-even-begins/

The crowd gave “41″ an unbelievable ovation. He is 92 years old and just recently spent two weeks in ICU, yet he still made it to the game for the coin toss.

us army sgt 1st class kevin mcdaniel associated press

President Bush has had one incredible life and at 92 is still showing the American persevering spirit.