Arriving at the Excel centre yesterday morning, I was subjected to the kind of scrutiny only usually reserved for transatlantic air travellers. From that opening statement, you can probably deduce I’m a DSEI newbie! I knew there’d be plenty of military hardware on display, but the sheer scale of this expo is impressive.
In amongst all the guns, bombs, tanks, warships, missiles, fighter jets and F1 cars (think Williams are going to declare war on Mercedes!), there is an area dedicated to communications and security. Whilst on a smaller scale to most of the other zones, there are many interesting products and technologies on display.
Modern conflicts can now no longer be fought just on the battlefield, cyber warfare and by association cyber security, now play major roles in prosecuting and preventing conflicts. Secure communications underpins all our military operations whether on home or foreign soil. The technologies which enable this are constantly evolving and adapting to new threats, to keep our forces safe and to ensure continuous operations.
I was interested to see some of the products our partners at Cisco were bringing to the show and viewed some really interesting demos. It’s fascinating to see how the Internet of Everything (IoE) and the concept of Fog Computing is being adopted in specific solutions to support military operations.
The widespread adoption of IP based systems by forces around the world enables the adoption of many solutions, which once would have been the preserve of the private sector.
As if we hadn’t already been overwhelmed by the Cloud, now we have the Fog! Fog Computing is a relatively new term and describes a distributed computing infrastructure in which some application services are handled at the network edge in a smart device and some application services are handled in a remote data centre e.g. in the cloud.
The goal of fogging is to improve efficiency and reduce the amount of data that needs to be transported to the cloud for data processing, analysis and storage. This is often done for efficiency reasons, but it may also be carried out for security and compliance reasons.
Cisco has developed a range of smart edge routing platforms, which enable multi-access (wired, wireless or LTE) in a ruggedised form factor, which also include on-board computing power to enable Fog processing.
When deployed in a metropolitan infrastructure these devices enable smart cities, by enabling services such as smart lighting, parking and traffic monitoring.
When deployed in a military environment such as a warship and linked to an IoE enabled communications fabric connecting ship borne sensors, with remote sensors on other platforms (helicopters, drones etc.), Fog Computing can ensure only critical information is passed to operators. This ensures systems don’t become overwhelmed, and allows for faster tactical decision making.
Fog Computing has the potential to make all our lives better, there are environmental benefits from easing traffic congestion, and leading us directly to the next free parking space –and more importantly, in a combat situation, it will undoubtedly save lives.
My first day at DSEI has very definitely been an eye opener, and I’ll close by highlighting why Forfusion has a presence there this year (through our partnership with NDI). Forfusion Government Secure Services (GSS) provides design and support services for secure IP communications networks, to a number of MOD and public sector customers through our partnerships with UK industry. If you think we can help solve some of your IT, communications or business productivity challenges, please come and see us.
Forfusion Government Secure Services (GSS) provides design and support services for unified communications and collaboration, networks and security, as well as data centre and virtualisation to a number of MOD and public sector customers through our partnerships with UK industry.