Army speeds service info to deployed troops

A new smaller version of the Army Knowledge Online portal lets deployed soldiers, retirees and their families download information 10 times faster than the standard AKO version.

AKO Lite, which the service debuted last month, is now being used by thousands of soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq and other overseas locations, said Marc Wilson, AKO program manager for Army contractor Appian Corp. of Vienna, Va.

Previously, tapping AKO was a bandwidth challenge for deployed Army employees. 'The normal AKO is very heavy with lots of bytes to download,' Lt. Col. Kenneth Blakely, chief of AKO, said in a statement. 'Soldiers said they wanted something faster, so we made AKO Lite.'

Added Wilson: 'The main way of accessing AKO tends to include a number of graphics and a lot of content. AKO Lite has a really small kilobyte footprint.'

AKO Lite includes primary links to Armywide announcements, service, the portal's collaboration center and instant messaging.

There are about 1.6 million accounts registered on AKO. Since its launch, AKO Lite has tallied 20,000 to 30,000 sessions a day, Wilson said.

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