Dear FieldExplorers visitor,
I would like to take the opportunity to share my thoughts on our place in the world, as well as a brief history of where we came from.
My fascination with technology started at a very early age. I remember I used to spend hours on my grandfathers closed in porch, among tools and boxes, playing with his TRS80 computer from radio shack. This would have been circa 1985, I was five years old, and the TRS80 which used a cassette tape to store its operating system and any other programs had been replaced by my grandfather with what was really just a word processor. Most people only used computers as glorified type writers at the time. I was, however, fascinated with the actual functionality of the computer and the possibilities it presented.
By 9 years old I was given the TRS80 by my grandfather and had it on the desk in my room. I studied books on the BASIC programming language and became relatively fluent. I wrote a program to catalog my baseball cards. This program included a password protected loop. It was slow going writing in basic on that computer. It could take hours just to write, upload, and test, just a few lines of code.
Through my high school years my parents always made sure I had a relatively new computer to use. I remember my first access to the Internet was dial up through prodigy. I continued to experiment with programming languages, such as C and C++, but I began to realize my interest really swayed toward the hardware side of computing.
Before I graduated high school I was building computers, first two for myself and then other custom computers for friends and family. I began repairing computers. This activity led to a job at PC Supplies in Newark DE. There I enjoyed building computers on a large scale, sometimes fifteen to twenty in a day, for clients such as school districts and even Amtrak.
In 2004 I opened my own computer repair shop. Along with my wife, who is an electronics technician, we worked on expanding the repair business to a technology tutoring one as well. Soon after opening we had an opportunity to solve some unique problems faced by a client. The client owned several fast food restaurants spread out from Philadelphia to Clearwater Florida. He needed a way to monitor the locations remotely. CCTV systems had been around a long time, but PC based systems that would allow for remote access and viewing were part of an emerging market. The second problem was remote control of the POS systems. At this time, programs such as Logmein and Remotelyanywhere where hardly known. We found a small application online that was designed to be used to log into PCDVRs and used it to log into POS systems. The owner from his office in Philadelphia could log in to the store in Clearwater and view the cameras live, but also the register as it was being used. He could see everything an employee was ringing up in real time. He could also remotely control the register, very useful if a remote store close was needed. Contracts to install this solution in 78 stores were soon created. Not long after deploying these systems, major thefts were detected and prosecuted, including one long term theft totaling $2700 stolen $20 at a time.
The experience with the fast food camera systems game me a valuable education. Yes we learned lessons about the cameras themselves and also on angles and lighting, but the bigger lesson learned was that problem solving and combining technology with new approaches were badly needed skills. Continuing to learn about what current technology was capable of, as well as what could be modified for use, became our primary goals.
While attending the four year course required to become a master electrician, a goal set in motion by the possible future requirement for all data cabling to be performed by a licensed master, an opportunity arrived for a unique project. A remote, solar powered, wireless camera system was needed to observe wildlife on an island. In addition, the construction could not harm the environment, could not be permanent in design, and all equipment could only be transported by boat. In three years no company had been able to propose a qualified system, both in results and in execution. When we toured the target area, we knew all of the previous proposals would fail. The details of the solution we proposed and then executed a year later are too long for this letter, but that is the project that really forged Field Explorer into being. Releasing technology into the wild is how my business partner and best friend described the system when he first saw it. I agreed that is what we do. But sometimes wrangling wild technology is just as important. Solar technology, video walls, wireless failover backups, fiber optic systems, that's what we do whenever we aren't up to our knees in mud installing a system in the bush.
So if you want to see Field Explorer in action, visit one of our live camera projects, view video content on our website, or just visit your local mall and enjoy wireless internet access and video wall presentations. Who knows maybe we will meet as we continue to Explore!