28 Sep 2018

Why the next generation soldier requires a rugged digital ecosystem

Writing between the two Great Wars American author Damon Runyon famously said, ‘the battle is not always by the strongest won – but that’s the way to bet’. If he was alive today he would be amazed how the odds have changed. For in today’s world of warfare, force of numbers no longer guarantees a competitive edge.

On today’s frontlines the Decisive blows are often delivered from a distance. Given the right technology, modern conflict is seldom a drawn-out process of attrition. Your front-line force doesn’t need to be the strongest in terms of manpower – but it does need to be the smartest.


Winners in any field are those who know what move to make next in order to expose and exploit opposition weaknesses. Intelligence has always informed action and that requires insight and the ability to quickly call the right shots. As such the next generation soldier will be not just be a fighting machine, he or she, through the use of wearable devices, will be a sensor-driven data collector.

Leveraging Cloud technology and Edge Computing, this data will then be interpreted and manipulated, equipping leaders with the information they need communicate the right move back directly through the wearable chain of command. Given the computing power available today through mobile devices, this becomes an iterative and repetitive process that analyses the best possible outcomes of balancing defence with attack.


In general, front line data collection has transcended the line of sight, vocal PMR and aerial photography that for so long posed limits and time constraints on lines of communication and command. The Internet of Things (IoT), and visual information from automated devices such as drones, have added to the available dataset.

Possibilities for further enhancement are far from exhausted. ‘Smart’ defence is an exponential function and, with modern encryption techniques and the Cloud making data almost instantaneously available, command and control in the field of conflict has become more exact, more robust and more accountable.


Despite the ever-increasing sophistication of technology, the fact remains that there is no such thing as a non-rugged front line. As such, while decisions based on enhanced data may be robust, their communication can only be as robust as the digital mobile devices available to transmit and receive them.

Increasingly one of the most important parts of the armoury of any front-line soldier will be their personal mobile device and wearables. The same will be true of vehicle mounted mobile devices, which may also be exposed to extreme conditions. To meet these requirements Getac has developed an ecosystem of rugged mobile devices, manufactured to military grade standards and designed to keep functioning even in the most demanding circumstances. These are fit for purpose for any armed force and can be deployed instantly.


Getac has recently published a new e-book entitled ‘In Conflict. With Technology’. It can be downloaded free of charge on the following link: defence.getac.com/uk

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