2 minute read time.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has transformed the way we live and work in many different ways, and the defence industry is no exception.

One of the most significant advantages of IoT technology in defence is its ability to enable real-time monitoring and analysis of large amounts of data. This can be used to detect and respond to threats faster and more effectively, providing a critical edge in combat situations. IoT-enabled sensors may be used to detect enemy movements or incoming attacks, allowing forces to react more quickly and effectively.

IoT also offers the potential to improve logistical operations and supply chain management. Sensors may be used to track the location and condition of equipment and supplies, allowing better planning and allocation of resources. This can help reduce waste, improve efficiency and reduce the risk failure, all of which can have a significant impact on operations.

Physical security is another critical aspect, and IoT can help enhance security in several ways. For example, IoT-enabled surveillance cameras can provide real-time monitoring and analysis of high-risk areas, such as military bases or critical infrastructure. This can help detect and prevent security breaches, and identify potential threats.

However, while the benefits of IoT in defence are significant, there are some challenges that.

One of the most critical challenges is ensuring the security of IoT devices and the data they generate. With so many devices and sensors connected to the internet, there is a risk that they could be hacked, compromised, or used as a backdoor to gain access to critical systems.

To address these challenges, defence need to take a proactive approach to IoT security. This includes implementing robust security protocols, encryption, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems - regularly updating and patching devices and software to ensure they remain secure against the latest threats.

A further challenge is managing the vast amounts of data generated. This data can quickly become overwhelming, making it challenging to analyze and derive insights from it.

To address this, there is a need to invest in data management and analysis tools that can help them make sense of the data generated by IoT devices, enabling them to make informed decisions based on real-time insights.

In conclusion, IoT technology offers several significant benefits for defence, including real-time monitoring and analysis of data, improved logistics and supply chain management, and enhanced security.

However, these benefits also come with challenges, such as ensuring the security of IoT devices and managing the vast amounts of data generated by them.

By taking a proactive approach to IoT security and investing in the right tools and technologies, defence can harness the full potential of IoT technology to improve their operations and enhance their overall effectiveness.

These are just my musings and understandings and would welcome discussion from across industry to see where we may be similar and different. Also, interested in wider IoT topics, we are relaunching out IoT TN - our EngX platform is still in the early stages of development, but please head over following the link here

  • In a world where Tic-Toc and google, Instagram etc know all about you, your habits, interests and location there is nowhere to hid secrets like the position of a friend or enemy anymore. 

  • The balance defence must take is that of ensuring it embraces the latest technology but without compromising itself. Also, sometimes the technology, policies and standards (civilian) move faster than that in defence.

    Finding that critical balance is an adoption challenge in itself.

  • To address these challenges, defence need to take a proactive approach to IoT security. This includes implementing robust security protocols, encryption, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems - regularly updating and patching devices and software to ensure they remain secure against the latest threats.

    In a military context I suspect it might be an awful lot more challenging than that - even if everything is totally encrypted a lot of intelligence that could be very useful to an opponent can potentially be gathered from simple metadata  A device's IP address can often reflect its physical location - and therefore the location of its associated assets, likewise IP routing tables.  The fact that a sensor goes off-line and then returns (perhaps with a different IP address) sometime later might suggest not only that the asset it's associated with (be it a camera or regiment) has moved, but  possibly even give an idea of how far.  Downtime that matches local power cuts (even if delayed by UPS batteries) likewise could suggest its location and might even be open to "gardening" if the opposition has the ability to trigger power cuts.  If a lot of devices go offline or move at the same time, that could be a good early warning of a the start of a major action. Wireless transmissions can be triangulated on even if you can't understand a single bit of the data. Even small bits of vague information can add into the opponent's overall intelligence picture.

    There's nothing new in this kind of thing - in the early days of WWII British spies were equipped with mains powered radio sets - the Germans could triangulate on the signal to find the building OK, but if it was a large building, say an apartment block, they would narrow it down further by going down into the basement and pulling fuses - when the signal suddenly stopped, the label on the fuse told them which door to kick in. All without having to decode a single letter of the message.

       - Andy.

  • Further to that ..

    The problems to be considered should also include graceful operation when connectivity is denied - after all if breaking the network is all that is needed to bring the enemy down, it is a lot cheaper to do than firing missiles etc. Look at the effect of GPS and GLONASS jamming in Ukraine, not just on the actual navigation, but on things like 3g and 4 g connectivity as a current example.

    Also one has to consider what happens when the sensor falls into enemy hands - if it cannot be remotely put beyond use, the enemy may well be able to turn it  against you- especially if it can be persuaded to reveal details of where it has recently been or the configuration of the network to which it was most recently connected. And of course with cameras, any images or video stored on any built memory or SD cards or similar may reveal the ID of the personnel who set the camera up - which could be very bad news indeed.

    And of course a lot of commercial IoT things assume a stable network connection and reliable power supply - neither may be true. A network may be over combat-net radios and of fairly limited bandwidth (single figure megabits) and only permitted at certain times of day to reduce the risk of being triangulated by radio direction finding equipment and consequent targeted attack.

    There is considerably  more to the making of a military IoT than 'just' taking a commercial device and ruggedizing it to DefStan 0035 or similar before painting it green or desert sand - which I think was your point.