Ever since the iPhone and the iPad hit the market, Apple has been able to infiltrate market segments many thought were impossible for the California based company. There is no doubt that the leadership and vision of Steve Jobs combined with the creativity of Jonathan Ive have done wonders for the company.
Developers and creative companies have also been able to take advantage of Apple’s iOS devices. Even the military seems to be taking advantage of Apple’s gadgets to reduce operational costs and improve military efficiency.
Two well known military contractors are already planning to use the iPhone, the iPad and other potential products as well.
Well known military contractor, Harris, is currently working on an iPad application that will allow ground troops to use touchscreen gestures to remotely control a camera aboard an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The goal is to make sure that military troops can find enemy soldiers and weapons remotely, while seeing actual video and remotely controlling the UAV camera directly from the iPad. Harris is very well known for its commercial video products, which should translate very well to the iPad.
The Harris iPad application would transmit video and location information to intelligence commanders that require strategic information and field data to make important military decisions. According to a PCWorld report, Harris is planning to demonstrate the remote camera application for the iPad and iPad 2 at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in mid-April.
Another Pentagon contractor planning actual field tests with an iPhone app is Intelligent Software Solutions (ISS). ISS is getting ready to test mobile applications for the iPhone and Android. The goal is to test applications that will provide a soldier with fighting and bombings information that have occurred at precise locations as soon as that soldier arrives into a war zone area.
The idea is to leverage geo-mapping technologies and combine that with historical data sent wirelessly from a command center. By doing so, ground troops can be better prepared when entering war zone areas. They will be able to know the locations and types of encounters that have happened in specific areas.
There are multiple reasons why the military is planning to use products like the iPad and iPhone. First, the cost of each device is much cheaper than other specialized equipment previously used in military action. Second, the learning curve for iOS devices and other mobile products is very short given that most soldiers are using smartphones and tablets in their personal daily lives. Finally, if a soldier loses or breaks an iPhone or iPad, it is much easier to replace those devices at a much lower cost.
The possibilities are endless when you think of it. Harris has envisioned this technology evolving into multiple use cases for the military. For example, soldiers could use an application at checkpoints while conducting video interrogation of individuals with an iPhone. Then, upload the live video to a military system that would check that person’s face with facial recognition software.