Cisco Blogs

U.S. Army Builds Internet of Everything Infrastructure for the Fighting Force of Tomorrow

July 10, 2015 - 4 Comments

Every July, we celebrate on the 4th to commemorate the Continental Congress’ approval of the Declaration of Independence.  This year, the patriotic occasion reminded me of an event held last month when, together with United States Congresswoman Jackie Speier and the president of Sonim Technologies, Bob Plaschke, I announced a partnership with Sonim for the digital transformation of the communications systems supporting the U.S. Army training center in Fort Irwin (California).

Military Readiness on Command
To train and prepare troops for duty, the U.S. Army wanted an off-the-shelf, next generation communication device that is both sophisticated in its features and functionality, yet tough enough to withstand the demands of military use. The combination of Cisco Instant Connect software with the power of Sonim rugged smartphones provided the durability, versatility, and reliability the Army was looking for. Powered by Instant Connect, the communication solution provides secure hyperconnectivity of devices, people, data, and business processes for better incident response and soldier productivity.

Instant Connect technology helps the U.S. Army in several ways:

  • User Priority and Preemption: Soldiers with a higher push-to-talk priority mute users of a lower priority from talking at the same time. This is a key feature when fast decisions need to be made in stressful conditions.
  • Broadcast Call: This allows people the authority to talk to all users on the system at once – no matter what channel they are listening to. When orders need to be understood up and down the chain of command, Instant Connect makes it possible.
  • Scan: This is used when people need to talk and listen on more than one channel at a time. Military situations are often highly dynamic. Being able to manage multiple scenarios at one time is critical.
  • Private Call: Users can make private calls within the system.
  • Online Presence: Users can make private PTT calls to other Instant Connect users within the system.

The Internet of Everything (IoE) continues to advance the way we communicate, while revolutionizing the transfer and utilization of data between people — and between people and things. The result ultimately enhances our “connected experience” with digital solutions as end-users. The U.S. Army provides one public sector example. But the same is true for the private sector.  Utilizing collaboration and  mobility technologies, enterprises are engaging  both their customers and workforces with instant communication anywhere — and on any device — to deliver timely and contextual user experiences, ranging from the inside of retail store to the outside of an oil rig.

Can you imagine features of Instant Connect transforming your organization’s communications process – especially pertaining to a better user experience?  If so, how?

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. Mala,
    Interesting post. Borrowing from the work we’re doing in Customer Experience and Omni-Channel, tracking the Warfighter or First Responder journey in our upcoming Cisco Context Service would allow Cisco and partner applications to act on journey events across any channel. For instance, Next-Best Action analytics applied to events occurring in theater as they’re ocurring. Situations occurring in real time demand access to a shared journey and traceability for post-mortem analysis applied the systems of engagement.

  2. Excellent summary of the technology advancements being made by Cisco and the U.S. Army. I can see how the User Priority and Preemption features can be very useful during high-stress combat situations.

    Looking forward to seeing how these technologies will be used in the private sector.

    • I appreciate your feedback. How this technology is used is limited only by imagination. For example, in the private sector I can see it being used in managing fast moving disaster mitigation in the event of a blow out on an offshore oil rig that requires multiple parties for spill containment. While in the civilian public sector, the solution might be ideal for forest fire control where prioritized communication among widely distributed fire crews is essential in a rugged environment where every second counts. I’m interested in learning any additional thoughts you might have and those of others on this topic.