ComputerWorld recently published an article that details how two Pentagon contractor are building apps for Android and iOS devices which will give soldiers the ability to use consumer mobile devices as information and controls systems on the battlefield, replacing the costly, ruggedized gear that is often used.
Harris and Intelligent Software Solutions (ISS) are two companies working for the Pentagon, developing apps that will give soldiers increased awareness on the battlefield and allow them to gather real-time intelligence via access to control and gain access to video feeds from UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that may be in their area of operation.
One of the apps would give soldiers precise information about the location of operations, incidents, and airstrikes that have occured nearby. That information would be combined with historical data of the surroundings and past crimes or battles to prepare soldiers for the environment they will be operating in.
One of the benefits of using consumer devices such as Android and iOS devices are the relativly cheap price for which they can be obtained. According to the story, the off-the-shelf devices will be made to replace purpose-built devices which cost the government $10,000 or more.
While these consumer devices will not be as rugged as their predecessors, the anticipated cost-savings make them appealing from a financial standpoint, even if the devices would need to be replaced a few times due to breakages. In addition, many individuals already know how to operate smartphones, so time spent training soldiers on these devices could also be greatly reduced.
We saw back in August last year that there was an ongoing project to use Android handsets as a supplementary translation tool, translating a conversation in real-time through use of the smartphone's network connection.
I also wrote a story back in November that SOCOM, a branch of the US military, was looking into an Android-based system to enable soldier to communicate intelligence data with others nearby using peer-to-peer networks instead of relying centralized servers or pre-existing cellular networks.
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