The Internet came from the defence world. In the 1970s and 80s, DARPANet, the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, used switching and protocols to give Cold War survivability to communications networks. 

The 1989 world wide web naming and addressing protocols allowed the Internet to evolve into the global phenomenon that we know today.  Recently a new concept has come into being the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), which is the extension of Internet connections beyond computers and communications systems to everyday objects such as cars, food packaging, domestic appliances and many other products. 

The military is the hidden treasure of the nation that works day and night selflessly keeping their lives at the stake. They are armed with latest weapons to fight on the battlefield. Instead, constant improvement leveraging advanced technology is needed for the tools to enable military forces edge out the enemies.

Contemporary military operations are becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. As the technological capabilities of allies and adversaries advance, more pressure is put on military commanders to anticipate and take action in increasingly pressurized environments and restricted time frames.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a potential solution to this problem. By integrating systems of sensors, actuators, and control systems into existing military infrastructures, the military can become more efficient and effective. Below we have outlined three separate areas for IoT military applications.

Logistics

The effect of IoT on logistics and supply chain management has been huge, industries such as agriculture and healthcare have recently benefited. In terms of military application, the connected sensors and digital analytics that IoT technology offers can be used to track supplies and equipment from their source to where they are needed on the battlefield.

Smart bases

Incorporating IoT devices and sensors into military bases can have several positive effects. Automated security screening, for example, increases safety while decreasing manpower and a network of security cameras connected to their environment via sensors and to a central network via the Internet will also minimize security risks. Smart management of resources – electricity and water for example – will increase the capacity and output of military bases while ensuring that the well being of all individuals inside the base is protected.

Data warfare

By collecting data from a wide range of military platforms – including aircraft, weapon systems, ground vehicles, and troops themselves – the military can increase the effectiveness of their intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems. This wealth of information will allow the armed forces to identify key threats faster and accurately.

Use of IoT in Defense :

  1. Provide war zone situational awareness
  2. Proactive hardware maintenance
  3. Monitor war fighter’s well being
  4. Remote Training
  5. Real-Time Fleet Management
  6. Efficient Inventory Management

Challenges pertaining to IoT research :

  1. Standardization
  2. Costs
  3. Data privacy and security
  4. Interoperability
  5. Ethical implications

What’s the big picture?

The potential of IoT in defense operations is very clear, especially considering its applications in the developed world. However, the challenges in its research are also very real. For India to usher in Digital India in its full glory, it cannot gloss over IoT applications in defense. Suitable budgetary allocations and technology nurturing environment should be created. Then, watch IoT take off!

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