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Network-Centric Warfare: How IoE is Transforming Defense

The power of the Internet of Everything (IoE) lies in connecting the unconnected, bringing together people, process, data and things to create new and exciting possibilities. These connections are already transforming the world today, from corporate business to local government. One area in particular that has been significantly transformed by connectivity over the years is our nation’s defense.

Throughout the past 30 years, Cisco has been working closely with the Department of Defense to transform its operations from a point-to-point world to one that is fully connected. We are proud to have played a role in building the first defense-wide enterprise network, known today as the DoD Information Network (DoDIN). These networks were rapidly extended into the deployed environment, and Cisco was there helping to make that transition. Today, DoD networks are being pushed out even further into the tactical edge connecting sensors, platforms and mobile users. This network capability is critical to supporting all branches of the U.S. military, serving as the connective tissue that transitions enterprise to deployed to tactical edge establishing the Defense Department’s global IoE environment.

Modern battlespace boundaries are consistently harder to define, but IoE technologies such as sensors and collaboration capabilities operating on a secure mission fabric are enabling shared situational awareness, accelerating rapid indications and warnings, and improving real-time collaboration. For example, every element of today’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations – from unnamed vehicles and autonomous sensors to a solider in the field with a handheld decision aid or intelligence analysts in the operations centers – requires a secure, reliable network to connect a vast defense landscape.

In the garrison, the emergence of connected base environments illustrates how IoE is impacting daily military operations. IoE-driven solutions such as energy-monitoring, smart street lighting and advanced asset tracking can help bases around the world operate more effectively, provide information for better decision-making and improve cost efficiencies. The medical and logistics environments, for example, are replete with sensors that can monitor, control, optimize and automate their unique mission operations. From bases to tactical edge, the DoD will continue to adapt and refine its “Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs)” necessary to improve mission effectiveness across every branch of the U.S. military.

So what’s next?

As today’s battlespace boundaries continue to evolve, the need for agility, resilience and adaptability is more critical than ever. Similarly, the strategies and technologies required to achieve success will change and Cisco will be there to support the defense community with solutions for service members around the world. We are committed to helping the DoD build and maintain the secure mission fabric necessary for efficient and effective operations.

For more information, check out this new white paper highlighting on how IoE technologies and Cisco are supporting the Department of Defense. Also, keep an eye for future blogs that will take a closer look at connected bases and how the Navy is leveraging the power of enhanced connectivity.

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Kick-off: A Blog Series about Public Safety and Security for Government Agencies

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is changing the game for public safety. Through connected smart technologies, public safety agencies can continue to drive the needle forward as they serve their growing populations even as budgets remain constrained. Today’s deputies and officers are accustomed to a mobile world and expect these technologies to be commonplace on the job to improve situational awareness for law enforcement and first responders.

First responders pioneered robust and reliable communications. Police and fire radio systems remain workhorses of the professions. But IoE promises new levels of connectivity for personnel in the field, synthesizing real-time data for swift situational awareness. Through the variety of Cisco collaboration and wireless solutions, public safety agencies can provide first responders with real-time information to improve their situational awareness and on-location effectiveness.

Smart technologies are a force multiplier for public safety agencies and unlock the power of collaboration to improve the safety of communities. Improved practices can knock down barriers in agencies and prevent wasted funds and man-hours. For example, Cisco Connected Justice allows courts, correctional leaders and other key decision makers to perform their duties regardless of location to improve the speed and safety of the courts process. Also, consider the transport of inmates from jails to courtrooms. With every hearing, there is a lengthy and expensive checklist of costs to get the inmate to and from the hearing safely and efficiently. Using on-site TelePresence, courtroom proceedings can be conducted on-site directly with inmates – vastly reducing flight risk and enhancing safety.

Today kicks off a series of blogs that will lead up to this year’s IACP Annual Conference in October where attendees will explore the powerful advantages smart technologies provide law enforcement agencies. Over the next few months, my colleagues and I will share stories about how agencies are improving the safety of communities, saving time, reallocating resources and cutting costs by using Cisco technologies. The next blog will feature the city of McAllen, TX where law enforcement is using Cisco TelePresence in its warrant process to accelerate the investigation process within the department and provide immediate access to judges with video adjudication moving forward.

Last month, I participated in a Public Safety panel to discuss how local government and law enforcement are using Cisco technologies to address the scope of environmental challenges sheriffs face. Explore insights from the panel here. You can also go to our website to learn more about Cisco’s solutions for public safety agencies. To learn more about Connected Justice from the users’ perspective, keep an eye out for Judge Patterson’s upcoming blog series this month that will explore technology in the courtroom. There is a lot happening around public safety and security. I look forward to continuing to share insights and agency success stories as we continue to adopt and evolve with new technologies.

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Security Is a Top Priority for Feds and Should Be Moving Forward

It’s no secret that security is top priority for the federal government. It seems like every week we are hearing about a new threat, hack, or breach that has hit an agency. In just the past few weeks, we’ve heard about significant breaches that have resulted in both citizen and federal employee information being compromised.

Obviously, these kinds of attacks are putting agencies on alert. This is especially important as organizations continue to embrace new technologies and polices to improve operations and efficiency. As technology investments bring great new capabilities to government, it’s imperative that IT managers design security in from the very beginning.

I recently discussed this topic in an article published in Federal Times. The article explored how the Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of Everything (IoE) need cybersecurity protection. In addition to a projected $4.6 trillion in value for global public sector by 2022, the enhanced connectivity offered by IoE technologies also creates an increased need for network security. For example, while BYOD programs are tremendously valuable, these initiatives also create a larger surface area for potential attacks by adding devices to the networks.

With billions of devices expected become connected over the next five years, it’s important that agencies have a plan in place to address their security needs. In general, agencies should focus their efforts on creating a cybersecurity strategy that is visibility-driven, threat-focused and platform-based. As more individuals and devices need network access, having real-time visibility becomes even more critical to gaining insight on surrounding threats and identifying system vulnerabilities. Also, presuming the network has already been breached it can help agencies be more proactive their approach. And lastly, a platform-based approach will provide scalability and flexibility required to address a variety of threats and reduce complexity through centralized management.

The number of ways IoE can make our lives better and our organizations more efficient depends mainly on our ability to think of new ways to use the technology. If we can be confident in the security of IoE, we can be confident developing more applications for it. All organizations should be in a position to ask, “Now that I am confident with my protection, what new things can I develop to save money or time and delight my users?”

Take a look at the Federal Times article for more insights around IoE and cybersecurity, and check out this white paper to learn more about IoE’s impact on public sector.

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Federal Agencies and the Internet of Things

Earlier this week, Federal Computer Week ran an article – “Are agencies really ready for the Internet of Things?” – that discusses the potential challenges government agencies face when implementing the Internet of Things (IoT). The article’s author spoke to Gary Hall, chief technology officer for Federal Defense at Cisco, about these challenges, as well as why federal agencies can’t afford to ignore IoT any longer.

The biggest concern that all organizations have with IoT is the massive scope it involves – there is a huge volume of data being produced and a need to store and process it all. Even just the number of connected devices is expected to explode in the coming years, growing from around 16 billion today to 50 billion by 2020. “Humans can’t deal with the volume of data we’re producing,” Hall said.

All this data means more chances for security breaches as well, which is especially worrying for federal agencies. In this case, awareness is key, as Peter Romness, a business development manager Cisco, spoke about at a recent GovLoop seminar. Romness cautioned that there is no “silver bullet” defense, so agencies must prepare to deal with inevitable hacks. “It’s not a question of if you’re going to get hacked, it’s a matter of when,” he said.

Despite these concerns, IoT experts agree that federal agencies cannot avoid the issue any longer, and if they haven’t already started planning for IoT implementation, they’re behind. Cisco estimates that IoT will generate $4.6 trillion for the public sector over the next 10 years, and agencies that are too wary of potential security issues risk missing out on this value. “This is the next big disruption,” Hall said. “It’s important that we aren’t so afraid of the fear of attack that we don’t realize the value.”

For example, the General Services Administration (GSA) – which manages nearly 10,000 government-owned buildings around the county – is reaping the rewards of its IoT- building management initiative, GSALink. GSA collects almost 30 million data points from sensors throughout its buildings, constantly monitoring everything from light to humidity. Using this data, GSA is able to optimize conditions when workers are present and save on energy costs when buildings are empty. IoT can add significant value like this to all federal agencies – they just have to take advantage of it!

Read more about how IoT can transform the public sector here, and check out more thoughts from Cisco’s experts like Gary Hall on our blog.

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Experience the Digital Community at Cisco Live

Cities, states, and other communities continue to face an increasing variety of challenges: traffic congestion, parking, public safety and security, waste and water management, and access to education and healthcare. As such, government leaders are looking to technology to solve these challenges, while also finding more efficient ways to provide better services, reduce the carbon footprint, and enhance livability.

SCC2Solutions enabled by the Internet of Everything (IoE), such as the Cisco Smart+Connected City Operations Center, can successfully enable communities to become digital and to address these challenges.

This means improved operating models to drive efficiency, safety, and better citizen experiences overall.

Read More »

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