Monday, August 30, 2010
Army’s “Edgy” Concept: Customizable, Mobile Solutions for the Warfighter
Michael Anthony is the Chief of the Advanced Applications Branch and Collaborative Battlespace Reasoning and Awareness (COBRA) Army Technology Objective (ATO) Manager for the US Army Research Development and Engineering Command, CERDEC, Command and Control Directorate (C2D). Ron Szymanski is a Lead Computer Scientist for CERDEC C2D and the Technical Lead for the COBRA ATO. Both are located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.
There has been a recent push for the Army to leverage commercial hardware, software, and graphical user interface technologies for handheld military specific use. As part of our goal to advance the Army’s agenda, the Battle Command division of the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) is leveraging an “Edge-Enabled Systems” paradigm. I know; that’s a mouth full. But over the next two days, we’ll explain what we mean by Edge-Enabled Systems, we’ll provide some real-world examples, and we’ll end with a brief discussion on the potential return-on-taxpayer-investment.
First, what the heck are we talking about? An Edge-Enabled System is one that is utilized at the “edges” of the network. Typically, the users are dismounted Warfighters or other users that do not have access to a thick client terminal. We tend to classify those users in two categories: those that use thin client (aka web only) solutions and those that use hand-held devices (tablets, mobile phones). Those users are at the “tip of the spear” and not only are collecting and transmitting relevant information on a daily basis, but also have a critical need for the most up-to-date information on their mission area.
Additionally, an Edge-Enabled System “lives in the cloud.” That is to say, application data is not tied to any one device/platform. No matter where one logs in to their Facebook account, they can still access all of their pictures, their friends’ contact information and posts. Facebook doesn’t “care” where you log in from; all your data is available no matter where you are.
Finally, an Edge system usually offers some type of composability. The system is customizable, offers a wide variety of configuration settings, applications, or themes to ensure that each user can have an experience that is unique to their needs. Users might even be able to build and share their own apps to the community-at-large.
So how does this work and how do we intend to leverage it? We’ll discuss that and share some real-world examples in the next couple of posts. But for those who just can’t wait, feel free to listen to the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable discussion we had last week at the C4ISR Symposium in Baltimore.
In the meantime, we’re interested in your thoughts on this model, so please share comments or leave questions. If you want more information about CERDEC C2D, contact our Public Affairs office, (732) 427-1594 – and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, too!