Interoperability may have been the central theme at the recent MILCOM conference in Orlando. But it was hard to ignore the huge underlying momentum that's building around full-motion video data across the Defense Department as well as the Homeland Security space.
Surveillance videos and satellite feeds are hardly new. But the massive volume of imagery moving across military networks these days is demanding ever increasing amounts of bandwidth, taxing network resources, and increasingly overwhelming the ability of analysts to keep up with it all.
The Defense Department has quadrupled its military data traffic between 2005 and 2007 and that military data traffic is now roughly doubling every year, the Army's acting CIO, Major General Jeffrey Sorenson, said at one of the keynote addresses. A large part of this traffic is from full-motion video and other image-based data. And it's all riding on the Internet Protocol.
That's requiring bigger and bigger pipes, Sorensen said. That's actually not that big of a problem'the military has plenty of fiber optic capacity to work with.
The bigger issue, however, is keeping up with the need to inspect the volume of data packets moving across network routers for security threats, processing the images for useful information, and redistributing data to those who need it literally all over the globe.
There were of course, plenty of suppliers offering solutions at this year's MILCOM, which attracted more than 5,200 attendees this year according to its co-sponsors, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). It was the largest MILCOM to date.
One product that caught our eye as a partial solution was a Full-Motion Video Asset Management Engine, or FAME v. 1.0, from Harris Corporation. It integrates video analytics, video and audio coding and processing and storage capabilities into a single platform.
It is worth noting that Harris is also a leading supplier to the broadcast and cable TV industry. So the company is no stranger to handling large scale video feeds and setting up video networks on the fly.
The average Sunday afternoon football game, broadcast globally in high definition, with 50 simultaneous camera feeds, easily rivals much of the full-motion video capability the military is trying to establish.
Still, like a linebacker on a bus filled with little old ladies, it's clear video will quickly become the oversized member of the data family riding in the military's network Humvee.
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