US Military

Businesses Can Learn From the Military in Embracing Chatbots and Mixed Reality

The world’s military are keen early adopters and innovators around most technologies, especially IT-related advances. Helping drive forward the use of chatbots, augmented reality, mobility and sensor use, we take a look at how they could help move commercial use forward.

Yes, Chatbot, Sir!

Last year, a gathering of Israeli soldiers held a typical code jam to come up with uses for chatbots that could benefit Israel’s Defence Forces. The IDF’s Sigma Department has long been effective in co-opting civilian tech for military use. While the winning idea at the event remains classified, the piece mentions some use cases, and the article goes to show how the military, globally, aren’t afraid to borrow from off-the-shelf technology.

Any business keen to innovate should let its worker loose from time to time to explore new ideas and technology to see how it could benefit the business.

The U.S. military used a chatbot as part of its recruitment process for a number of years. Sgt. Star is no longer active, but made plenty of headlines back in 2014, and we’d imagine others around the world have taken notice.

How else will the military attract generations increasingly dependent on social media and instant messaging? And if one of the world’s biggest employers uses chatbots for recruitment, that’s a sign to all businesses of the advantages to be had.

CyberWar: The Next Pearl Harbor?

As uncomfortable as that subheading is in an emotional context, the next major attacks against any global or regional powers are likely to come in the form of digital spearhead. Asian Military Review looks at the global threat and how the military are preparing to defend their digital borders.

Already, border skirmishes are triggered or supported by hacks, bringing down power and communication systems, threatening the people and trying to generate PR or support. Again, most military installations are protected (or not) by commercial software, but the drive is on to develop better tools both for defence and attack.

With technology a key part of all of lives, we’re likely to see military-grade defences rapidly deployed to protect business, industry and the humble consumer from whatever comes next down the digital threat pipeline. And, as a business, these efforts should encourage you to check, double and triple check your security, with penetration testing and worst-case scenario planning to protect the business.

AR and VR, Where the Action Is!

Airbus Defence is showing off latest augmented reality toy for the military at Eurosatory in Paris. Its Holographic Tactical Sandbox is an innovative planning tool designed to assist in mission preparation.

Wearing AR glasses, users can see a 3D holographic map of a target or battle zone. All of the information is integrated into the chain of command, providing an accurate 3D representation of the battlefield using information supplied by Airbus’ Fortion TacticalC2 application. We imagine that data from other sources such as drones and intel can be shown on the map to fill in details, allowing operators to view and create information, which is then shared with higher decision-making levels of command.

Virtual Reality has already made huge strides in the military, from the first low-polygon tank and plane simulators to high-fidelity rigs like the new Badger APC simulator training South African forces. They may look just like PC games, and many simulators are developed on gaming engines, but the reality level is stepped up several notches.

Drones, simulators and similar technologies enable businesses to “see” and prepare to new levels, and while not everyone needs a tank simulator, many businesses can benefit from VR or AR training.

Business Learns From the Military (and Vice Versa)

Whatever the technology, any business should keep an eye on their neighbours in camouflage, as the modern warfighting organisation performs more like a regular enterprise. The need for nimble and rapid development sees them using easily accessible tools, rather than waiting for their traditional corporate partners to spend years and millions of dollars developing something.

General tech concepts like cloud (with a few extra layers of security) and use of open source are helping the military work faster and leaner. Off-the-shelf or easy-to-develop platforms and tools like chatbot development systems for any type of use, Google Docs as used by the U.S. Defense Department and so on.

Product vendors can also showcase their software or services for military use. Unity that powers 3D games and military simulations was shown off an Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), a massive data modeling, simulation and training event promoting innovation in many markets. That’s just one example of how vendors can look beyond traditional markets.

Whatever the business need, whatever the software, consider military users as just another market worth tracking when it comes to learning about the best or new uses for technologies that any business can use to improve performance.

Tech writer interested in mobile, digital business, automation, IT, smart homes and gadgets - anything with a GHz pulse.