The advent of mobile devices has formed a colossal mass of smartphones and tablets across the world and has spawned a number of technological developments that branch off from this.
The world of apps seems to be as endless as the universe, enabling us to do a variety of things from taking beautiful pictures to monitoring our every move. Wi-Fi appears to be creeping into a host of products and appliances from all in one printers to the kitchen oven, enabling us to have control of these from our mobile devices.
Tablets have even found their way into restaurants, hotels and shopping malls to assist us in improving our overall experience, from ordering dinner to buying shoes. The effort so far seems to be orientated towards improving our personal lives; until now that is.
The US Army has taken an interest in mobile devices for the purpose of tracking soldiers, being more knowledgeable of their surroundings and working together to build more effective defence and attack positions.
The usual port of call for commanders is to radio each and every soldier to get their exact location and condition. But thanks to mobile device technology, this may be possible at the click of a button on a Motorola Xoom tablet possessed by the Commander.
Smartphones known as “end user devices” in the army, are connected via USB to a radio system that carries voice and data on a secured network. This information is then readily available for view by a Commander or anyone else who has authorisation to do so, enabling rapid deployment of troops to a troubled location, or a strategic defence formation.
The software on these devices has been developed by the US Army and named Nett Warrior. The display is not like the smartphones that we commonly use, but the phones allow for the download of apps entailing training aids and planning tools.
A number of trials have been taking place at the White Sands Missile Range in South Central New Mexico, where conditions are thought to be similar to those found in Afghanistan. A command centre has been setup at a similar distance to that of a base, in order to send instructions to troops using the mobile devices. Results so far show this technology is set to stay and will be incorporated throughout the army.
This change in nature of the use of mobile devices really shows that we are just at the tip of the iceberg of what can be achieved with this technology.