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Mobile Devices and Anytime, Anywhere Strategies


In Defense and Intelligence environments, we’ve been hearing a lot about providing real-time information and awareness to war fighters anytime, anywhere. Global access to vital information isn’t just a luxury anymore; in many cases it’s an essential key to mission success. Situations and conditions change rapidly.  New information is coming in all of the time. Providing the latest situational awareness to those at the tactical edge has become an important goal for many Defense and Intel organizations. Mobile devices are an important component of Anytime, Anywhere strategies.

Mobile devices can be used to satisfy a variety of mission needs, both to those deployed overseas and here in the US. Applications for mobile devices range from email access, to Voice over IP, to a variety of mission specific ‘apps’ such as mapping and GIS tools. Many of these applications require connection to a server via wireless or cellular communications in order to be operational a tall. Others can operate in a disconnected mode, where the application is completely self contained on the device. Others operate in what is typically referred to as "sometimes connected". These applications generally load data while connected to a network and use that data when disconnected.

In order to support anytime, anywhere access, some sort of connectivity to either a wireless or cellular network is important. Here in the well-connected US, this isn’t usually a concern. However, for those at the tactical edge where conditions are austere, this presents a challenge. Further, since many of the applications used on mobile devices will need data from a server, data and communications security is a significant concern as well.

Despite these and other challenges, organizations are pressing forward with mobile solutions. There are a number of pilot programs currently underway, and a significant number of mobile devices deployed today. The pilot programs are structured to provide lessons learned on a regular basis so that they can quickly move to operational systems in the near future. In a recent article in the Defense Systems June/July 2013 issue, I read that DISA (the Defense Information Systems Agency) will begin offering mobile services as a subscription-based service in fiscal 2014.

I’ll be back later this month to talk about some of the challenges and opportunities associated with deploying mobile devices.