Defense Department looks to procure smartphones, tablets, and personal Wi-Fi hotspots for soldiers.
10 Epic Android Apps
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Military IT leadership has been increasingly talking about equipping soldiers with smartphones, and now the Army's 5th Signal Command, via a procurement run by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), is looking at the possibility of buying thousands of mobile devices in a move that could help get that strategy up and running.
DISA Tuesday issued a request for information to do market research ahead of the impending expiration of two communications contracts now in place. It plans to consolidate the existing contracts into a new contract that will provide wireless services and hardware to soldiers across Europe.
The Army's 5th Signal Command, which manages network and communications operations for the Army, has been a vocal supporter of the Army's mobile strategy, which, among other things, includes plans for an application marketplace reminiscent of Apple's AppStore. On the About page of the 5th Signal Command's website, the only content under the heading "Vision" is an image of an iPhone with various mobile apps.
In addition to standard phone features, the RFI asks for BlackBerrys, "emerging smartphones included but not limited to 4G devices such as Androids [and] iPhones," tablet computers, and wireless broadband access devices like wireless aircards and personal hotspot devices.
DISA recently certified its first Android device, the Dell Streak 5, and the military is working on mobile device security in a number of other efforts. However, while the Department of Defense (DOD) is pushing for the adoption of mobile devices, DOD CIO Teri Takai has said that the shift won't happen overnight.
The contract seeks a number of features for smartphones, including encryption, a 5-megapixel-minimum camera, remote wiping capability, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi calling, over-the-air patching and updates, 4 GB minimum internal storage, GPS, and touchscreen.
Other requirements include tethering, multimedia broadcast capability, a direct connection between the military and the contractor to avoid Internet-based transport, and encrypted enterprise messaging. The plan, according to the RFI, would be to be able to refresh devices after 18 months.
InformationWeek Elite 100Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
The UC Infrastructure TrapWorries about subpar networks tanking unified communications programs could be valid: Thirty-one percent of respondents have rolled capabilities out to less than 10% of users vs. 21% delivering UC to 76% or more. Is low uptake a result of strained infrastructures delivering poor performance?
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.