The Army’s work on the Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT) is more than just a way to carve out a catchy name for the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, wearable devices, cameras and embedded devices that take the field with military forces. It also underscores the most important element of having those connected devices–the data collection and automated analytics capabilities required to make good use of the information they provide.
The explosion of things connected to the Internet in everyday life and the industrial sectors has naturally led to subsets within the IoT. There are internets of Aircraft Things, Space Things, Underwater Things, and Medical Things. But like projects in other areas, the Army Research Laboratory’s $25 million IoBT project, is focused mostly on back-end processing. Being led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the project is a collaborative research alliance (CRA) looking to go beyond machines following orders to where they work almost as partners with soldiers in the field.