Satellite Communications Operational User Tookit (SCOUT)

Gold Award
Satellite Communications Operational User Tookit (SCOUT) is a suite of apps and a hardware device built to assist Satellite Communications (SATCOM) operators downrange. SCOUT combines an iPhone with several test devices in a small toolkit that replaces 160 lbs. of equipment into a single 7 lb. handheld device to lighten the load for soldiers and make them more efficient in the field. Moreover, SCOUT includes several guided workflows to help novice users conduct highly technical tests and alignments with little more training than understanding how to use an iPhone. SCOUT is the first device to bring the user-friendly interface of smartphones to the highly technical SATCOM industry. Coolfire Solutions is the only company solely focused on using smartphone technology in the battlefield to make soldiers’ jobs – and lives – a bit easier.


Spark Award


Invented by a former US Army SATCOM operator and developed by Product Development Technologies, Inc. (PDT), the Satellite Communications Operational User Tookit (SCOUT) is a suite of apps and hardware devices built to assist Satellite Communication (SATCOM) operators downrange. The SCOUT is a hardware device containing a spectrum analyzer, power meter, multimeter and global positioning system (GPS) receiver that uses the same mobile device as a modern multi-touch control surface. The SCOUT replaces 160 lbs. of equipment and four pelican cases into a single 7 lb. device powered by a mobile communications device (Apple iPhone). The SCOUT suite of apps includes a site survey tool, satellite locator and other apps to support military communication specialists. Today, SATCOM operators are required to use multiple pieces of heavy lab equipment for each task in satellite communication setup and maintenance. This includes the location, acquisition and verification of satellite links using a spectrum analyzer, digital multimeter, power meter, GPS receiver, compass, inclinometer, declination map, calculator, and other tools. All of this equipment can weigh up to 160 pounds, and is typically packed in approximately four large transit cases. These transit cases then have to be carried by a team of soldiers to the satellite terminal – often far downrange. SCOUT has been designed to enable converging technologies into one simple aesthetic design. The development of a custom printed circuit board provides the operating system and capabilities necessary to enable the communication and measurement technologies. SCOUT replaces all of this equipment with one 7 lb. device powered by a mobile communications device (Apple iPhone) making soldiers more efficient in the field. Furthermore, SCOUT simplifies the user interface for each of the test devices within the box. For example, a typical spectrum analyzer has more than 50 buttons on its front panel. SCOUT allows the user to use the multi-touch interface familiar to smartphone users to interact with the spectrum analyzer. Users can slide their finger across the screen to change frequency, pinch-zoom to change span, etc. Finally, SCOUT includes several work-flow processes, which allow novice users to conduct highly technical tasks. Complete with video instructions and the ability to call a tech support number, SCOUT helps non-technical users conduct tasks that normally require individuals that have had several months (or years) of specialized training. SCOUT replaces highly expensive and delicate test equipment devices, as well as months of training for each user. The savings in training costs – especially in this budget environment – are enormous for the military. Estimated annual market size for 2011-2012 in the Department of Defense is approximately $150M. Commercial market analysis is underway, however this device could significantly change the way DirecTV, Dish and other Direct-to-Home satellite services setup and test communication links. SCOUT is a combination and packaging of well-established technologies. It combines the multiple technologies into one sleek, rugged design package, controlled by the highly intuitive Apple iPhone smartphone.SCOUT replaces several pieces of expensive and heavy equipment into one neatly-designed lightweight box. Furthermore, SCOUT simplifies highly technical operations, which drastically reduces the level of training an operator requires to conduct typical SATCOM tasks. Finally, SCOUT employs a commercially-available mobile computing device (the Apple iPhone). With all of these factors taken into consideration, the SCOUT could potentially save millions of dollars for the military. SCOUT has multiple patents pending mostly concerning the methodology in creating unique user interface elements.


PDT was founded with a fresh vision for how product development should work. This unique approach has propelled our growth to a firm spanning the globe with nine offices and over 125 dedicated experts. Our design and engineering teams are frequently recognized by distinguished industry awards. Since 1995, PDT has been committed to providing truly comprehensive product development services via a proven, process-driven approach. Grounded in creativity, our work is balanced by a solid understanding of your business, the needs of your customers and demands of your markets. Even our own corporate structure - flexible and entrepreneurial in the best sense of the word - is designed in response to the fast paced nature of the industries in which our clients compete. Our mission? Deliver on the promise of truly seamless product development, innovation through execution. By all counts, we do it pretty well… Over 75% of PDT’s programs are repeat business from clients who’ve come to appreciate how our team becomes a natural extension of theirs. We build close, trusted relationships on solutions that rarely fail to exceed expectations.

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