The Internet of Everything will have far-reaching effects in a multitude of industries over the next few years. There will be an estimated 50 billion devices and objects connected to the internet by 2020. The movement toward an increasingly connected world is already transforming operations in the retail, finance and healthcare industries. The government is also seeking ways to harness the potential benefits of IoE, and one sector that anticipates gaining significant operational benefits from IoE is defense.
My colleague Cindy DeCarlo gave an excellent overview of how IoE is facilitating the vision of net-centric warfare. Mike Hodge further highlighted this transformation, emphasizing the benefits IoE can bring specifically to new smart and connected bases around the world. Today, I want to dig a little deeper and call attention to one branch of the military that is taking advantage of IoE to operate more efficiently and increase operational success in multiple areas: the Navy.
IoE enables the Navy to use technology to increase automation, improve multi-tasking, reduce workload and enhance effectiveness in four main areas:
- Connected Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
- Connected Operations
- Connected Logistics
- Connected Base and Shipboard
For Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), the Navy’s overall goal is to utilize shared situational awareness and a common operational picture, which are critical to successful operations in the vast maritime environment. This is accomplished using a shipboard IP network that leverages various communications paths to keeps ships connected wherever they operate across the globe. IoE provides the ability to extend that network by securely connecting manned aircraft and boats or unmanned platforms (air, surface and undersea) via IP networks. This extended network greatly improves the Navy’s ability to gather, examine and share ISR information.
In terms of Connected Operations, the Navy deploys numerous systems, such as unmanned platforms, that generate large amounts of data. To securely share all of that data, the Navy is developing a Tactical Cloud. However, it’s the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) program that will serve as the backbone network for most ships and submarines, as well as operate as the key hardware component enabling the Tactical Cloud. Additionally, as IoE greatly expands the number of connected people, processes and things in the maritime environment, the Navy will leverage these new data sources to maintain better situational awareness and take more effective and timely actions. IoE will provide the Navy with greater speed and agility that supports improved mission effectiveness.
Logistics functions in the Navy include everything from procurement to distribution to maintenance to disposal – all made more challenging by the maritime environment and limited shipboard space. IoE is helping improve logistics functions all around a ship. For example, greater network bandwidth allows sailors to access a library of maintenance and repair videos to help them fix problems with shipboard equipment themselves. IoE sensors and connections also allow improved prognostics and health management, permitting the assessment of systems under actual operating conditions. This connected environment helps the Navy keep track of key equipment and supplies, using the network to locate and manage assets and inventory throughout the ship.
Lastly, the Navy is using the power of internet enabled connections to improve conditions on naval bases and aboard ships. Since shipboard deployment frequently requires operations in hazardous conditions, the Navy is using IoE to enable remote monitoring that reduces sailors’ exposure to hazardous conditions, such as in machinery spaces. Video surveillance capabilities also allow real-time monitoring of key areas from any PC or mobile device, which significantly improves the Navy’s Anti-Terrorism Force Protection capabilities. And real-time energy consumption monitoring helps optimize fuel consumption, crucial to ensuring global reach.
For the Navy, the Internet of Everything isn’t just a vision of the future – it’s here. It is giving the Navy the opportunity to more fully adopt net-centric warfare, from ISR to Operations to Logistics to Base and Shipboard. IoE helps the Navy cost-effectively maintain operational advantage over adversaries and provides enhanced warfighting effectiveness, enabling them to continue to protect our country on the sea.
For more details on how the Navy is embracing IoE technology capabilities, check out this recently published white paper.