BATTLEFIELD COMMUNICATIONS

Military Looking Into Smart Phone ‘Connector’

1/1/2011
By Eric Beidel
Smart phones are fast becoming the military’s favorite toy.

But what happens when soldiers begin using commercially available technologies in a top-secret world?

Pentagon agencies are looking at software that allows for secure communication between different devices, be they computers, smart phones or radios. California-based Covia Labs Inc. has developed one such “connector” that was named a top performer in an interoperability demonstration this past summer.

The test simulated a terror attack during which the U.S. and Canadian militaries, Department of Homeland Security and local emergency responders had to communicate. The technology allows for branches of the military to design applications internally yet still be able to collaborate seamlessly with the other services, Covia Labs CEO David Kahn said.

The system integrates regular commercial devices like cell phones with mission-specific equipment such as sensors and security cameras. It could even be used to share location information with allies to avoid friendly fire, Kahn said. The technology uses end-to-end encryption designed to last only as long as a specific operation.

The software has generated interest from U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command, which soon will decide whether to conduct further studies with the technology this year.

Those tests should determine if the level of encryption supported by the software is suitable for combat operations.

Topics: C4ISR, Tactical Communications, Science and Engineering Technology

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