Mobilizing Military Tech, One Department at a Time

The U.S. Army is setting up wireless classrooms, the Marines are shopping around for an enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution, and rugged tablets are helping military maintainers (i.e., maintenance airmen and women) to make repairs in the toughest conditions. Mobile technology is essential in today’s mission and future missions, and mobile devices used by defense agencies have to be as rugged and adaptable as the personnel using them. A recent Panasonic survey of active duty, civilian Department of Defense and defense contractors found that 77 percent of respondents consider their rugged devices important to their jobs.

Enabling Remote Learning

Defense Systems reports that the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command is looking to expand web-based training programs to encourage lifetime learning in the field. The Army’s Mobile Program Director Rick Walsh says the focus right now is on increasing the “student population up to 10 times over by moving information stuck in that controlled environment [of a traditional classroom] to one that is more open and accessible.”

One way organizations are already doing this is by using mobile devices to make video calls that allow workers in the field to connect and collaborate with remote experts who are located elsewhere. Through these one-to-one, mobile-enabled interactions, technicians can more effectively service and repair equipment. On the next-generation technology front, the same technicians are using augmented reality (AR) to assist in repairs, equipment collaboration and other functions.

Defense Systems also reports that the Army and the Defense Health Agency are turning to mobile solutions for transferring battlefield medical data between field medics and hospitals. Army field medics already carry secure mobile devices, but the challenge is ensuring classified battle data is protected while transferring medical information. The prototype solution, currently in development, will additionally feature a two-way voice channel for remote medical teams to communicate with combat medics in real time.

Mobilizing Logistics and Maintenance

The U.S. Marine Corps wants maintainers and supply workers to use mobile devices for tasks like updating supply transactions and ordering parts. Once equipped with mobile tech, workers will be able to work throughout hangars or warehouses and use portable maintenance devices to remotely “plug into” different logistics systems and order parts (versus having to run back and forth to a centralized office and desktop computer), according to Defense Systems.

The use of mobile supply and logistics software solutions integrated with purpose-built mobile hardware features is also increasing. Equipped with a purpose-built mobile handheld device with barcode scanner, logistics staff are more prepared in the planning, managing and executing of ground equipment supply chains to ensure effective and efficient mission support. Similarly, rugged, purpose-built tablets with a MIL-STD design allow military maintainers more flexibility to receive and complete work orders remotely and more efficiently addressing inspections and repairs in real time.

These are just a few examples of how military organizations are integrating more mobile devices into their logistics operations. Mobile solutions are constantly evolving, with new devices, operating systems, software features, wireless options and other technologies emerging with increased frequency. As the new generation of rugged tablets, handhelds and other devices—combined with more advanced software, cloud infrastructure and “smart” IoT-enabled equipment—make their way into the U.S. military, these tools are providing unprecedented levels of visibility and enhancing productivity in new ways.

Learn more about Panasonic’s research into why rugged mobility is critical for defense agencies.