IoT has transformed from a mystical magical jargon to something tangible now. It is transforming manufacturing and operations at a large scale. IoT has also brought a great revolution in the defence sector and is better known as Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT).
So, getting ahead… let’s talk about IoBT!
What actually is IoBT
IoBT is the emerging reality of warfare; it will be leveraged to improve military operations, especially related to the battlefield. IoBT allows connectivity between humans, networks, and interfaces on a large scale; it offers game-changing capabilities for the defence sector. IoBT has robust applications, be it connecting ships, planes, tanks, drones, or even soldiers and operating bases in a cohesive network that increases situational awareness, sharpens risk assessment, and reduces response time.
IoBT leverages digital defence technologies like autonomous technologies (AUV and UUV), network-centric warfare, quantum technologies, and AR/VR-based training.
IoBT is already becoming a reality, and few years from now it is likely to gain dominance in majority of the battlefield-related defence operations.
Imagine a digital battlefield
Le’ts think about equipping complete battlefield operation with machine learning and networked communications. Imagine a battlefield scenario with a local, secured wireless network with many smart devices connected to it – a network-centric battle management system. Imagine soldiers wearing sensing and computing devices that are embedded in their combat suits, helmets, weapons systems, and other equipment. These devices are capable of transmitting a variety of static and dynamic data on the biometrics network. These devices could be further leveraged for collecting operational contextual data, which, in turn, could be utilized to perform context-adaptive authentication and continuous monitoring of soldiers’ psychophysical condition at the edge. It will apprise military personnel of their location, their allies’ location and also that of their enemy’s – all at a given point of time.
IoBT implies to creating a network of sensors, wearables, and IoT devices that use cloud and edge computing to create a cohesive war force. It is much about developing intelligent battlefield solutions that benefit from connectivity and can safeguard soldiers against any potential harm.
IoBT realizes full potential of pervasive sensing, pervasive computing, and pervasive communication and leads to an unprecedented scale of information produced by the networked sensors and computing units.
The massive military network can be upgraded to leverage advancements in unmanned systems (UAV, UUV) and machine intelligence, resulting in superior defence capabilities. IoBT assists humans in making useful sense out of this massive, complex, and potentially deceptive pool of information, while taking into account the ever changing defence mission. It could be well leveraged to execute missions with fewer soldiers and more machines as the cost of life cannot be compromised with that of hardware.
How to make IoBT win on the battlefield
Simply adding lots of gadgets or devices to the battlefield will only increase the cognitive load on warfighters. Indeed, there should be a centralised intelligence to configure and connect all those ‘things’. Connecting the IoBT with AI at its core is one of the key centerpieces of the puzzle. The goal is creating a cyber-network of “things” capable of adapting as and when a mission changes or evolves. This implies that systems must be “self-aware” and able to act according to their goals, state, vulnerabilities, and other characteristics to meet the commander’s intent.
Once the IoBT systems are AI-enabled, they will feature cognitive abilities and be able to merge data both from sensors and with that fed by humans. The system will need to function in a continuous state of learning. It should be capable of learning from previous actions, take actions in present and anticipate future moves.
Moving forward, our defence forces need a system interface and a command and control centre that can take the information through AI and ML and provide intelligence to soldiers.
The goal is straightforward… We are IN IT to WIN IT.