The Army as the Model for Business Communications

One of the biggest factors in helping people to get along and making businesses profitable is communication. Mobile phones in particular have become the symbol of this: depriving somebody of his or her mobile phone is today akin to torture, at work, at home or anywhere else. The trend continues too towards more advanced and more diverse communications technology, as workers bring in their own mobile devices for work and customers increasingly put their faith in the cyberspace.  Yet, our communication fails when we’re in an elevator, in a tunnel, underground or any place similarly isolated from the business network. Do military communications hold an answer?

If communications are important to most businesses, for the armed forces they are vital. With this in mind, military communications have often been in the forefront of communications technology in sophistication, performance and availability. The Internet that we now take for granted was originally a DARPA (US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) project. The goal was to construct a communications network that would automatically reroute information to deal with any part of the network breaking down or being destroyed. Similarly, the army, navy and air force (and the police) had two way radios and radio networks long before the first mobile phones became available for consumers.

As network operators are working to deploy and optimize business communications infrastructures to improve service availability and performance, the military sector may be the benchmark for at least two reasons. Firstly, communications innovation often appears in this sector early on: for example, software-defined radio, which has improved radio spectrum handling and flexibility, compared to conventional hardware implementations. Secondly, the military has led other sectors for decades in terms of availability, or if you prefer, business continuity. Military communications are designed to withstand most disasters, whether military or natural. Businesses that really want good communications might therefore prefer networks using military grade equipment and resilience.