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Connected smart devices have been gaining momentum in the military and defense spheres. These include sensors, wearable devices, munitions, smart weapons, etc. These devices, also known as the Internet of Military Things (IoMT) or Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT), have to be based on the existence of a safe, secure, and capable network, and powerful processors.
Connected devices in the military sphere are characterized by several trends, according to a GlobalData forecast cited by army-technology.com:
Security – this is one of the most critical obstacles to IoT deployment. However, in providing security solutions, suppliers have had trouble going beyond their traditional domains. For example, operators’ IoT security offers have mostly been about device authentication and network reliability. Clearly, breaches can occur at the device level, network level, app-level, storage level, and data level. There is some work in progress to help vendors and operators come together.
AI and analytics – as defense/security-related intelligence mainly comes in the form of open-source intelligence (OSINT), a key element for the optimal use of IoMT is AI, as it allows for more efficient analysis of the vast amounts of data that flow at a high rate from an increasingly large number of edge devices. Big data analytics can scan through a larger volume of data and at the same time reduce the associated noise using AI technologies, such as machine learning. Logistics, support and maintenance hugely benefit from big data analytics.
Predictive or condition-based maintenance can reduce costs and increase the availability of platforms.
Finally, battlefield intelligence IoMT is expected to maintain a human-centric or man-in-the-loop approach. Due to battlefield’s nature, which involves firing against targets, especially when it comes to operations in civilian areas, human identification and clearance for firing will always be necessary.
Sensors – EO/IR sensors, radar, sonars, motion or sound detectors have their capabilities augmented as the technology they incorporate improves. Therefore, developments in components technology increase the capabilities of IoMT backbones rapidly. It will also change the commercial landscape, as subsystems manufacturers will remain at the forefront of the market, closing the gap with platform manufacturers.
System’s health monitoring – the defense industry has been developing highly technological sensors that are able to monitor a system’s health status. These tools do more than simply alert the operator of a platform to a malfunction. They combine sensor input and data analytics to offer predictive analytics data for failures or malfunctions long before they appear.
Data storage – many private companies, including Amazon, are offering storage solutions to government users, including the US DoD. However, a data storage capability for combat operations will have to comply with many technical specifications and would probably have to be separate from purely COTS solutions.
Various IoT-specific cloud services have been launched to enable fast and efficient data storage and processing in the cloud, mainly on infrastructure as a service (IaaS), but also on platform as a service (PaaS) solutions..